Our hearts are broken
Our hearts broke in the passing of Mrs. Marvella Holmes, Wife of Dr. Carl Holmes and matriarch of EDI. Marvella worked tirelessly in the background to ensure that EDI ran smoothly. The Family ask that no one travel to Oklahoma city for services and that anyone wishing to pay their respects or show their gratitude to please do so by donating to:
5106 North Lottie
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73111
Our Prayers go out the The Holmes Family.
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FAA Trailblazer and Wife of OKC Assistant Fire Chief, Marvella Holmes had passion for community and family
Some people only walk this earth for a short time. Their departure reminds us that angels are watching over us. Last week, Marvella Holmes, wife of retired Assistant Oklahoma City Chief Carl Holmes, rejoined her heavenly family and gained her wings.
Mrs. Holmes was a trailblazer in civil service and began her government career at Tinker Air Force Base in 1959. She later went on to become one of the first African Americans hired at the Federal Aviation Association (FAA) where she served as a clerk typist in 1963. Despite the obstacles of discrimination and social injustice, Mrs. Holmes rose through the ranks to become one of the first African American female Training Specialist for the FAA, where she helped develop instructor training for FAA personnel across the country.
During her 35-year career with the federal government, Mrs. Holmes served as an Equal Employment Opportunity Counselor, worked with the Civil Rights Committee, was honored to be an Ambassador for the FAA’s Mike Moroney Aeronautical Center, and mentored countless others coming up the ranks.
Mrs. Holmes’ achievements at the FAA Academy earned her praise from her peers and she received numerous commendations for her superior performance, most notably Employee of the Year and Trainer of the Year.
Although in retirement, she found herself working just as hard beside her husband, Chief Carl Holmes, as they embarked on upon their joint vision to create what would leave an indelible mark on the American fire service industry.
Mrs. Holmes served as the longtime administrative coordinator and supporter of The Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute (EDI), which began in 1991 at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, FL. The mission of EDI was to develop the management skills and leadership potential of African American firefighters to prepare them for attainment of higher ranks. This concept was born out of Chief Holmes’ personal experience and with the unwavering support of Mrs. Holmes. EDI has proven to be one of the most successful programs of its kind with more than 2,000 participants. Today, many EDI graduates now serve as Officers, Chief Officers and Fire Chiefs nationally and internationally.
In addition to being Chief Holmes’ life partner for nearly 60 years, Mrs. Holmes was a compassionate spirit whose passion was caring for others and serving her church community. Mrs. Holmes has been a faithful member of Greater Cleaves Memorial C.M.E. Church since she two years old, where her family has worshiped for nearly 5 generations. While at Cleaves, Mrs. Holmes served as a devoted choir member, taught Sunday School and Bible Study, and was an active stewardess among other volunteer positions. She did all this while caring for her family, including her daughter Carla and mother Parzola Christopher.
Mrs. Holmes attended Douglass High School where she was well-known as the charismatic leading drum major for the legendary marching band, and as one the most prominent graduates of the Class of 1956.
She later went on to attend Business School at Compton Jr. College in Los Angeles California, prior to marrying Carl Holmes in 1959.
While Mrs. Holmes remained active in her retirement, the loss of her husband in 2017 was a blow. Her family grieves her loss, but they take comfort knowing that Marvella and Chief Holmes are together again. They are survived by their daughter Carla Holmes; granddaughters Mackenzie and Madison Meadows; Sister-in-law Helen Gray; Nephews Darrell and Ron Fry and Carnell Newsom; and Niece Lisa Newsom, and host of other family and close friends.
A private ceremony was held on July 20 and a Celebration of Life Memorial is scheduled for December 20, 2020.