More detail on this person: William "Bill" Foster Holmes, Sr., 73, of Wilkes-Barre, passed away
on Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, in the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Plains Township.
He was born in Wilkes-Barre on May 8, 1943, the son of the late William James Holmes and Lois Patricia (Hicks).
Bill was raised in the Wilkes-Barre area, while attending and graduating from the Wilkes-Barre city school district. He also furthered his education with a couple years of college after high school, but his real passion was flying. He began his flying lessons at 16, with fixed wing planes at the Forty Fort Airport. It was not long after that when he began his career as a pilot in the United States Army. He enlisted in 1963 and graduated from the U.S. Army Artillery and Missile Officers Candidate School in 1965.
By 1966, Bill was a helicopter pilot for the Army and served two tours in Vietnam. While there, he flew UH1's (Hueys) and CH-54's (Sky Cranes). He often volunteered to fly behind enemy lines to rescue ground troops pinned down by enemy fire. Because of these heroic deeds, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star. Upon Bill's honorable discharge from the Army in 1972, he achieved the rank of U.S. Army Captain.
After his discharge, Bill returned to the Wilkes-Barre area and pursued employment as a bar owner and a real estate agent. He also stayed active with the Army National Guard until retiring in 1990. His last position of employment was at the State Correctional Institution in Dallas, until 1994, when he suffered a massive stroke.
In March of 1997, he became a resident of the Veterans Administration Community Living Center, where daily visits from family, television and bingo occupied most of his days. Bill was very outgoing and colorful in his speech, as he was loved and respected by the VA staff, receiving the best possible care from management, doctors, nurses, aides, recreation and respiratory and dietary departments. He also enjoyed the camaraderie of the other residents, and the employed veterans within the VA living center. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Patricia Yates; and his stepfather, Walter Shelhamer.
Left to cherish his memory are his loving wife of nearly 52 years, Carolee A. Long Holmes; sons, William F. Holmes, Jr. and wife, Mary Grace, Worcester, Mass.; Frederick Holmes, New York, N.Y.; Thomas James, Wilkes-Barre; daughter, Carolee Anne Holmes, Wilkes-Barre; grandchildren, William Edward and Ellette; his "adopted" son Kevin, Delray Beach, Fla.; several cousins; nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are invited to pay their respects from 6 until 8 p.m. Wednesday at Kniffen O'Malley Leffler Funeral & Cremation Services Inc., 465 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre. A private burial will take place at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that individuals donate as much time as possible to the local Veterans Administration Center of their choosing. Online condolences can be left at kniffenfuneralhome.com.
This information was last updated 12/28/2016
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 08/05/2019
Copyright © 1998 - 2019 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association