September 15 2016

Obituary: Francis "Frank" Holmes, Veteran Who Enlisted at Age 17, Dies at 88


A long-time Burlington resident who enlisted in the Navy at the young age of 17 to defend our nation passed away last week. 


Francis Xavier “Frank” “X” Holmes Sr., a Veteran of both WW II and Korea passed away peacefully on Friday morning, September 9, at the E.N. Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford. He was 88 years old.


Here is his full obituary from Sullivan Funeral Home: 


Frank was born in the family home in Belmont one of five children born to Leonard and Clara Holmes. He grew up and was educated in Belmont. He was 14 years old when the United States was attacked at Pearl Harbor precipitating the United States entering into World War II. To describe Frank’s family as patriotic is an understatement. Along with Frank, his father; Leonard, his brothers; Lawrence, James and William, and sister; Claire, all enlisted and served their country during the WW II. Frank, still in High School and only 17 years old, had to get permission from his parents to enlist in the Navy. So at age 17 and 1 month, he was a Seaman in the U.S. Navy fighting in WW II. He served on the USS Cuttyhunk Island and USS Design. Thankfully, all his family returned home safely from the War and Frank received the WW II Victory Medal and American Area Medal. 


With the onset of the Korean War, Frank heard the call again, but this time chose to serve in the Army as a Sergeant attached to the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 41st Field Artillery Group, stationed out of Fort Benning Georgia. He served 1 term of 2 years prior to his discharge. He was proud to be an American, fight for our freedom, and serve his country in both the Navy and Army in two different wars.


After his service, Frank returned home and resumed his trade as an electrician and member of the Electrician’s Union, Local 103. He worked on a wide variety of construction, renovation, and maintenance projects all of the Boston area. He was very proud to say that he was a member of the Local 103 for 68 years. He met his wife, Florence “Flo” Geary while visiting at the Elms in New Hampshire. They married on January 23, 1954 and purchase their first home together in Burlington in 1955. They raised their 6 children in Burlington and became active members of the community. 


Frank and Flo did quite a lot as a couple. They danced every Saturday night with friends often at the “Band Box” in Billerica. They bowled together in several leagues at the Brunswick Bowling Alley in Burlington. They enjoyed spending their retirement years split between Atkinson, NH and the Fort Lauderdale area of Florida. They also had a strong interest in supporting research on Cystic Fibrosis. Frank served as President of the Massachusetts Cystic Fibrosis Chapter. 


Frank was also an avid golfer. It was hard to figure out what he enjoyed more, swinging a golf club or finding golf balls in the woods while taking his daily walk. He started running when he was in his 50’s. He would be seen all over the Burlington area that some gave him the nickname “Marathon Man”. 


He was a devoted father to his children, helping with their home projects, trying to guide them in their life choices and challenges, and always loving them unconditionally. He was blessed to see his family grow with the addition of 10 grandchildren and then 11 great grandchildren. As the effects of Dementia crippled his life, his children where at his side to watch over and care for him, just as they had experienced from Frank and Flo’s love and devotion for them over their lifetime.


Frank was the devoted husband of the late Florence E. (Geary) Holmes. He was the loving father of Elizabeth “Betty” Harrington & her husband Richard of Wakefield, Beverly Sleeper & her husband Fred Sleeper, Sr. of Shirley, Francis “Frank” Holmes Jr. of Burlington, Leonard “Lenny” Holmes of Dracut and the late Heidi and Herbert “Herbie” Holmes. He was predeceased by his siblings; Claire Eaves, Lawrence “Pete”, James & William Holmes. He was the proud Grampa to Matthew & Jeffrey Harrington; Jennifer (Sleeper) Arakelian, Michelle (Sleeper) Watson & Frederick “Ricky” Sleeper, Jr.; Dana Budryk & Sean Holmes; Derek, Joseph, & Kenneth Holmes. He was the great grandfather of Ryan, Ashlyn, Kolby, Theresa, Adam, Maximus, Trevor, Devonte, Lorenzo, Dominic & Giovon


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