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Former Surry supervisor dies

Kenneth Holmes, a Surry County native and former member of the board of supervisors, died March 23.

Holmes, 71, had represented the Carsley District on the board from 2015 until resigning on Feb. 28 due to health reasons. The board’s four other members unanimously and formally accepted his resignation letter March 18.

At that meeting, the board also decided to accept letters of interest from Carsley District residents who wish to be considered for appointment to serve in Holmes’ seat. In order to permanently fill the vacancy, the board, through its attorney, plans to petition the circuit court for a special election in November to choose someone to fill the remainder of Holmes’ unexpired four year term, which ends in 2023.

The board planned to accept letters of interest until 5 p.m. March 29 and consider the candidates at the group’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting on April 1, which will be held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. If the board is unable to make the appointment then, chairman Robert Elliott said the board will call a meeting to make a decision before April 14. If the board doesn’t act by that time, state law allows a circuit court judge to appointment someone.

Although the board formally accepted Holmes’ resignation on March 18, because the letter stated that he resigned immediately, the board’s attorney suggested it was best to err on the side of caution, meaning that the 45-day window to make an appointment ends April 14.

Born in Surry on May 27, 1949 to Isaac Holmes Sr. and Fannie Holmes, Kenneth Ray Holmes Sr. was a loving, devoted father and family man who was passionate about higher education and art, according to an obituary published in the Petersburg-based Progress-Index newspaper March 26.

Holmes graduated from L.P. Jackson High School in 1967. He went on to attend Virginia State University and earned a bachelor’s of science in 1974, a master’s in education in 1975, a second master’s in education in 1979 and additional advanced degrees in 1983 and 1996. Holmes was a founding member of the Nu Delta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. In addition to his board of supervisors position, Holmes also served as director of alumni affairs at VSU, president of the Surry County African Heritage Society and in other education, public and community service-oriented positions.

Survivors include two daughters, Keinya Holmes Clay of Bowie, Md., and Khristi J. Holmes, of Chesapeake; a son, Kenneth R. Holmes Jr., of Surry; a grandson, Andrew Clay Jr.; sisters, Ernestine Spratley, Judith Robinson and Terry Dodson; brothers, M. Sherlock Holmes Sr., J. Russell Holmes, Calvin Holmes, Isaac Holmes Jr.; and nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

A viewing was held March 28 in Petersburg and a graveside service was held March 29 at the Waverly Cemetery.