John R. "Johnnie" Holmes

Posted: Wed 6:33 AM, Jul 10, 2013
Funeral Home: Ruebel Funeral Home
May 12, 1925 - July 6, 2013

John R. "Johnnie" Holmes, 88, of Little Rock, passed away Saturday, July 6, 2013. A celebration of Johnnie's life will be held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Little Rock, Ark., on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 11 a.m. followed by burial in the St. Mark's Garden Columbarium and a reception at the church.

He was born on May 12, 1925 in Lowell, Arizona to the now deceased, John Patrick Holmes and Lenore Lee Holmes. Johnnie was a 4-H member as a youngster in the Rio Grande Valley north of El Paso, Texas. After serving in the U.S. Air Force he went on to graduate from Texas A&M with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Education. As a student, he worked at the college owned radio station where he produced and aired farm programs, collegiate FFA programs and assisted the Extension radio editor in airing regular farm and home network programs. As farm editor of WMT, an agriculturally oriented radio station in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he wrote and broadcast radio programs. At this time, Johnnie also became actively involved in the ALL-Iowa Fairs providing coverage for many local fairs, the Iowa State Fair and National Dairy Cattle Congress. It is at one of these fairs that he met the love of his life Patricia Frances Benesh.

He continued his broadcast career in Little Rock as farm service director for KLRA-AM, where he was the first full time radio broadcaster in Arkansas devoted to gathering and reporting agriculture news, then as farm service director for television station KATV, where he was responsible for a daily 30 minute television program featuring crop and livestock news, agricultural personality features and reports on special farm events. He also broadcast live reports with livestock exhibitors from the Arkansas State Fairgrounds, a first in Arkansas television. In 1956, Johnnie became secretary-manager of the American Dairy Association of Arkansas. He continued working in the dairy industry for nearly 20 years, serving first as market coordinator for the American Dairy Association of Milk Producers Inc. and in the promotion division of the Associated Milk Producers Inc.

In 1975 Mr. Holmes became the Arkansas State Fair general manager and secretary treasurer of the Arkansas Livestock Show Association and was named executive vice president in 1982. In this position, he worked extensively with the Department of Education, vocational agriculture teachers and 4-H and FFA members to increase educational activities and involvement at the State Fair. In 1992, Mr. Holmes received the National Future Farmers of America's "Honorary American FFA Degree," the highest award presented by the FFA.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Patte Holmes; a sister, Joan Etheridge of Tucson, Arizona; a brother, Patrick Lee Holmes of Miami, Florida; and three God-children who loved him like their own father, Pam Alagood Taylor, Greg Alagood and Nancy Alagood Meredith,

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to St. Mark's Episcopal Foundation, 1000 N. Mississippi St., Little Rock, AR 72207.

Arrangements by Ruebel Funeral Home
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