John W. Holmes, 79, printing shop owner

July 26, 2005

John Wesley Holmes, former owner of a Baltimore printing company, died of cancer Saturday at Ruxton Health and Rehabilitation Center in Pikesville. The Woodlawn resident was 79.

Mr. Holmes was born in Philadelphia and moved to Baltimore, where he was raised on Fremont Avenue by his aunt and uncle. After graduating from Douglass High School in 1943, he enlisted in the Army and served as a clerk in Europe during World War II.

Returning to Baltimore, he went to work for his uncle, who was a co-founder in the 1920s of Watkins & Wells Printing Co. in the 800 block of N. Fremont Ave.

After his uncle's partner left, Mr. Holmes became part-owner of what became Watkins & Holmes Printing Co. He closed the business at his 2003 retirement.

He enjoyed traveling and had been an avid Colts fan.

Mr. Holmes was an active member of Howard Park United Methodist Church.

Plans for services were incomplete yesterday.

Surviving are his wife of 39 years, the former Sarah Jones; an adopted daughter, Joyce E. Hall of Oakland, Calif.; a sister, Mary E. Powell of Baltimore; a foster brother, Emmanuel Watkins of Baltimore; three grandsons; and seven great-grandchildren.

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