Phyllis Ann Morgan Holmes
Published 3:54 pm Wednesday, December 14, 2022
“It is not the destination that’s important, it’s the journey”
JONESBOROUGH — Phyllis Holmes was born in Elizabethton, Tenn., to Thomas O. Morgan and Nancy Elizabeth Houser, on June 2, 1944. Phyllis died of interstitial lung disease on December 10, 2022 at 3:42 a.m. at home in Jonesborough, Tenn.,, holding her husband’s hand. She told him she was ready and that she loved him, and he told her he always loved her. She smiled and let this life pass.
Phyllis had an incredible mind and was gifted at finding the best values — truth, questions and answers, and expanding her relationship with her husband with love, life, and experiences throughout their life together. She was predeceased by her parents and her brother, Dean Morgan, and his wife, Ellen Morgan.
She is survived by her husband, James Floyd Holmes; her children, Nicole Holmes Tolbert and Scott Morgan Holmes; her two grandchildren, Carson Holmes and Piper Ridley Holmes; her nephews, Stephen Morgan and Doug Morgan; and her niece, Cecily Field.
Phyllis graduated from Elizabethton High School in 1961 with three years of advanced classes. Phyllis earned a BS degree from ETSU in 1965. But even though she qualified to teach and both her parents had taught, she determined she could not stand teaching.
Phyllis met her husband James in social dance class at ETSU in 1963. They loved to dance together and it was she who invited him out to buy her a coffee. They had been dating for three years when James let her pick out a ring at Hart’s in Johnson City, his first credit purchase. It proved to be a great investment, and Phyllis and James married on June 26, 1965 at Hunter United Methodist Church on Stoney Creek Road.
Their honeymoon trip was from Elizabethton to Kingsport to move into a rented apartment. She took a job at J Fred Johnson’s, while James worked three jobs (janitor in church, mower for Kingsport parks department, and salesman at Western Auto) while completing his BA degree at ETSU. As an ROTC graduate, he became a Second Lieutenant upon graduating.
With James in the Army, they moved to Fort Eustis, Va., for TOBC training, to Fort Bragg, N.C., as he became an executive officer in an aircraft maintenance unit, and to Fort Lee, Va., for his quartermaster officer training. These were very hard times for Phyllis because being part of a military family was a strange world she had entered.
James then went to Vietnam as a First Lieutenant while Phyllis stayed with her parents and his parents, as she was pregnant with their daughter, Nicole. Nicole is now 54, married to Chris Tolbert. In 1971 Phyllis gave birth to Scott, who is now 51. Scott is married to Michelle Renee Holmes, and they have a son (Carson) and daughter (Piper Ridley).
After James returned from Vietnam, they raised their children and gardened to make ends meet, with Phyllis taking on the brunt of the work while James earned a meager living in middle management. They moved to Ohio for a job opportunity, and Phyllis made the best of it with her impeccable taste, her drive to educate her children, and her continued full life of loving and caring for them. This full time homemaking kept the family together, and she was the glue.
As the children grew older, she went back to school at Stark Tech College and graduated with an Associates Degree in computer programming. She then retired after 22 years with the Haines Criss Cross company working on programs to merge information about all sections of the United States for advertising purposes. While it could never replace their love of the mountains, she and James made a good home in Ohio, and did enjoy the Amish country and some special shopping experiences in the big cities and the Great Lakes. She shopped for the finest products available while James ran his own franchises after making a career change in 1989.
Their next to last phase of life was the most successful retirement ever accomplished — they travelled [New England, Sanibel, Fla., Antigua twice, Bahamas three times, St. John V.I., and other Caribbean Islands, Costa Rica two times, Panama, National Parks out west for 22 days (in a 2005 Subaru with a Thule roof box on top for tent and camping), Washington DC and the memorials and museums, Big Island Hawaii for 15 days with a rental car, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Oahu for 22 days with a rental car, and Alaska for 10 days]. They laughed and loved and did lots of partying on every one of these trips, and became part of the landscape and seascape throughout. Phyllis researched these trips in great detail and James set them up, often on their own.
They then heeded the call of their beloved Appalachian Mountains and Tennessee, by selling and moving from Ohio in 2014. They loved being back and had a great time with music venues, story telling, blue grass, Dada Cabaret, and continued trips. They bought a home in Jonesborough in 2019, and love it and their many close neighbors who enjoyed visiting them on the front porch and back deck.
Phyllis Ann Morgan Holmes and James had a full love and shared their hearts, bodies and souls together for 57-1/2 years. She will be missed.
There will be a graveside service at Happy Valley Memorial Park at 1 p.m. Saturday, December 17, under the direction of Rev. Tiffany Sapp. Please meet at the cemetery by 12:50 p.m. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family via www.morrisbaker.com
Morris-Baker Funeral Home, 2001 E. Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, is honored to serve the Holmes family.