Duanesburg - Donald Stuart Holmes, was born Oct 21, 1923, and died at 95 in his home in Duanesburg, NY, on February 15, 2019. He was the second and longest-lived of four sons of Martha Andres and Edward Delroy Holmes. He is survived by his three sons, Donald Stuart Holmes, Jr. (and wife Lee), Peter Mason Holmes, and David Mason Holmes (and wife Cynthia); his grandchildren Christopher Holmes (and wife Bridget), David A. Holmes, Marieke Holmes, Jenna Zimmerman (and husband Jereme), and his great grandchildren Aidan Borello (and husband Dan), David O. Holmes, Henry Holmes, Connelly Holmes, Jack Holmes, Sadie Zimmerman, and Maisie Zimmerman.
While a senior in high school, Don met and fell in love with Mary Jane Mason, where both were members of the youth group at the Methodist Church in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It was love at first sight. They married in 1943 and it was a love that endured even after “Janie” died on New Year’s Day, 2011.
Upon graduation from high school, Don received a full tuition scholarship at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Following the Pearl Harbor attack, he enlisted in the Navy, where he trained at midshipman’s school at Columbia University and graduated as a “90-day wonder” LT. JG. and then served as a gunnery officer on a minesweeper, the U.S.S. Strategy, in the South Pacific and the Sea of Japan. During his service, he participated in the invasions at Iwo Jima and Okinawa and rode out two major typhoons on the Navy’s smallest ship.
After the war, he finished his B.S. and graduated “with distinction” in mathematics at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and went on to get an M.S. in mathematics at Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana. After Purdue, he moved his family to Atlanta, Georgia, where he taught as a math instructor at Emory University, worked for 18 months for the Army Chemical Corps Inspection Division (where he was promoted to Chief), and then returned to his true love – teaching mathematics and statistics – this time at Georgia Tech. During that period, he took summer jobs as an industrial consultant to supplement his college professor’s income, assignments that allowed his family to explore the beauty of different parts of the east coast while he spent his days consulting in nearby industrial facilities.
One summer consulting assignment took him to General Electric in Schenectady, New York, where G.E. appreciated his talent so much that they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. After many years working for G.E. he decided he missed teaching and took an interim position at the State University of New York in Albany, moving on to become a full professor of Industrial Administration at Union College in Schenectady, where he specialized in statistical process control.
While at Union, he was able to take on visiting professorships at the University of Munich in Germany and at Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey. The assignment in Ankara turned into an 18-month stint and many close and enduring friendships with the Turkish professors and students with whom he was interacting. During this time, he also formed a private consulting firm, Stochos, Inc., which focused on developing and providing statistical process control software and consulting to industries around the U.S. and overseas.
Don’s final academic degree was an honorary doctorate from Union Graduate College, from which he had retired as a tenured professor of mathematics and statistics. His prior students came from as far away as Turkey to celebrate the event.
A family friend spoke for many, saying “Don Holmes was truly one of the finest, most decent men I ever knew. I feel lucky to have known and loved him.” All his family and friends feel the same. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.
An event to celebrate Don’s life will be held at a future date. Family and friends will be notified once final plans are in place.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial contributions to leatherstockinghonorflight.org, which takes veterans from their home towns to visit the war memorials in Washington, D.C., as an honor to their service.
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