Father, husband, teacher and friend
After decades in the classroom, former Lee County educator Wesley Holmes has inspired dozens of children — including his two sons.
On Father's Day, Holmes is described as a Godly man with profound wisdom who makes a positive impact on all of those around him.
Holmes, 76, said he was taught the value of education and hard work from the man who raised him. Holmes's biological father died when he was a baby and he was raised, along with his brothers and sisters, by his aunt and uncle. His uncle Ulysses, in particular, he said taught him how to be a man.
"He was gentle, loving and a caring person," Holmes said. "He was even tempered and he was a Godly man. He taught us to respect all people and he taught us to be manly — kind."
His aunt and uncle never had biological children, but their house was full of children and love, Holmes said. His uncle focused on education and all of the children graduated from high school, with several finishing their education in college. With a passion for music, Holmes said he graduated with a degree in public school from Livingstone College to become a music teacher.
"I had a great interest in music all my life," he said. "I chose music because it was my greatest interest."
With 38 years in the school system, Holmes said teaching music to children with learning disabilities at Floyd Knight School are some of the most meaningful memories of his life.
"It was a great joy to see children progress and make progress in music," he said.
He knew of several students who went on to play in middle and high school bands, play instruments into their adult lives or become music teachers themselves.
"To see children participate in activities that brought joy to their surroundings and to see them participate in something that could be carried over in later years of life was very meaningful," he said.
Holmes is also the chairman of the Sons of Varick, a men's organization which mentors to younger boys, at Fair Promise AME Zion Church.
"We basically try to instill Christian principles," he said. "That is basically it, yet that entails a lot. We teach young men self respect, respecting others and we try to instill in them leadership abilities."
It's these same characteristics that Holmes said he hopes his two sons, Craig and Myron, learned from him.
"I taught them to spend some time with your child every day," Holmes said. "Childhood would not last because they grow up so fast. I taught them the importance of spending time and cherishing each moment while you have it, because childhood moments are fleeting moments. They pass you by and you wonder where they went."
Myron Holmes said his dad has a wondrous sense of humor and taught him the importance of being a positive role model for his own son.
"He was always around to take me fishing, he was there for my athletic endeavors," Myron Holmes said. "He was always there to support me as a mentor, a cheerleader, a disciplinarian. He's a great father, an ideal father."
It was easy to give advice, Myron said, but his father went the extra mile to live the way he preached.
"My dad is probably the best friend a person can have," Myron Holmes said. "He is there for you regardless of the time, day or night. He's not just the best friend a son can have, but the best friend any person can have."
On this Father's Day, Holmes said he plans to spend the day like any other Sunday — at church and with his wife of 50 years, Eugenia.