by Patrick D. Forker
Ed Holmes, the first director of the Bridgemen Junior Drum and Bugle Corps of Bayonne, NJ, died June 8 at Brick, NJ Hospital. He was 76.
Holmes served as director of the corps from its inception in 1965 through 1978. Under the course of his leadership, the St. Andrew’s CYO Bridgemen first gained national prominence as a finalist at the 1970 World Open in Lynn, MA, and became the first junior corps to appear in competition at a DCI Finals in 1972. Holmes retired from the rank of director at the end of the 1978 season.
When Father Joseph Donovan of St. Andrew’s Parish first proposed the formation of the drum corps, he did not have to search very far for the right person to lead the effort. Holmes was of the parish literally around the corner, and having accepted the challenge did not realize at the time the positive and profound effect he would have on hundreds of young boys and girls in the years to come.
He was a father figure to many, advisor and counselor to others and above all a true gentleman.
He would invariably mention at times through the years that although he and his wife, Irene, had no children of their own, when asked, he would simply state “We have 128 kids.”
As one of those “kids,” I can unequivocally state on behalf of all my other Bridgemen siblings, that we loved this man, will miss his presence and are eternally grateful that he was a part of our lives.
May the good Lord hold you forever in the palm of his hand, until we meet again.
God bless Eddie Holmes!