Holmes, Mary Lillian

November 3, 2023, Age 97
Mary Lillian Holmes, a 97-year-old resident of Burley, passed away Friday, November 3, 2023,...
Mary Lillian Holmes, a 97-year-old resident of Burley, passed away Friday, November 3, 2023, at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center, in Twin Falls.(Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home)
Published: Nov. 7, 2023 at 3:55 PM MST
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) —Mary Lillian Holmes, a 97-year-old resident of Burley, passed away Friday, November 3, 2023, at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center, in Twin Falls.

Mary was born in Hunter, Utah, southwest of Salt Lake City, on September 10, 1926, the fourth and youngest child of Sine Victoria Larsen and Thomas James Edgar. Her three older siblings were Helen, Frank, and Bertha. When she was ten years old and in the fifth grade the family moved to a farm southeast of Burley. It was an adjustment moving from a comfortable home in Utah that had most amenities and was close to extended family to a small remote farmhouse that lacked central heating, indoor plumbing, or electricity. Mary attended the View School which was about a two-and-a half-mile walk each way if she took the short cut through farm fields. Later, after completing the eighth grade she attended junior and senior high in Burley, graduating from Burley High School in 1944.

Late in 1945, a school friend introduced Mary to her brother, Joseph Evan Holmes, who had recently returned from a European assignment during World War II. They soon began dating and were married a year later in the Idaho Falls Temple on December 11, 1946. The new couple had considered moving to another city for employment, but Mary’s employer, afraid of losing her, arranged a job for Joe at a local electrical company. Consequently, they made their life-long home in Burley. Together they would have four children: Mary Jean, Sharon LaVon, Thomas Joseph, and Marilyn Ann. Joe died in 1973, leaving Mary a widow for more than 50 years. Eldest daughter, Jean (Brown), also passed away in 2012.

Mary was always a hard worker. Knowing as a young woman that she would not have the opportunity to attend college, she took all the business, office, and clerical courses she could in high school. During her final semester of high school, she had enough credits to graduate, so she was allowed to get a job in the afternoons instead of attending classes. Her first job was writing a society column for a weekly newspaper in Burley where she earned $0.40 an hour. Her big break came when she was assigned to interview the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce to get information about a Chamber meeting for a newspaper article. During that interview she used shorthand to record the information. The secretary was so impressed with Mary’s skills that he immediately hired her to work in his insurance, real estate and tax business. She worked there after school and on Saturday until high school graduation and then full-time thereafter for several years. Family was her priority, and when her first child was born, she became a stay-at-home mom. Later when her first three children were old enough to be left with a sitter she returned to work at the same office doing income tax returns three months of the year. In 1962, when her employer was elected Mayor of Burley and sold his business, she took over the income tax customers from the business, and for several years continued to prepare their tax returns while working from home. When her fourth child entered kindergarten, Mary returned to work full-time for the company that had acquired her former boss’s insurance business years before. She worked for that agency and its subsequent owners until she retired in 1989. But that was not the end of her working career. She worked part-time for several additional years as a bookkeeper at Stokes Grocery and simultaneously was an unpaid volunteer doing office work at the Bishop’s Storehouse in Burley.

Mary was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Before the advent of electronic recorders or computers, she served for several years as the secretary to the Stake Patriarch where her excellent shorthand and typing skills were essential and well used in recording and transcribing. She served in various other callings including Primary teacher, Junior Sunday School teacher and secretary, Relief Society counselor, ward librarian, ward bulletin coordinator, and even took a turn as a Cub Scout Den Mother for a group of rowdy boys. Although she preferred being in the background, she was willing to do whatever was asked of her, and she was conscientious and diligent about each responsibility. She enjoyed family history work and attended the temple regularly and frequently until health issues made that difficult.

Mary enjoyed being outdoors, mostly to maintain her yard and tend her roses and a large vegetable garden, although the garden size gradually diminished as the years took their toll. Each year she produced abundant quantities and varieties of fruits and vegetables which along with other purchased fruits she canned, froze, jammed, or jellied for future use. She particularly enjoyed the taste of a fresh homegrown tomato.

Through the course of her life, she endured with faith many difficult and painful physical and emotional trials including deaths, illnesses, surgeries, separations, and disappointments. Yet, she maintained a cheerful outlook and a surprisingly keen sense of humor. She always had a laugh in her voice when she spoke.

Mary seems to have lived longer than any other person in her ancestral line and was the last known survivor of the blood relatives of her generation. She is survived by her daughters, Sharon Lowder (husband Dennis) and Marilyn Hawes (husband Tracy), and her son, Tom Holmes; also, by six grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, all of whom she adored greatly.

The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, November 11, at Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home, located at 1350 E. 16th St., in Burley, where family and friends will be received from 10 until 10:45 a.m. prior to the funeral service. Burial will follow at Pleasant View Cemetery in Burley.