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DYER BRAINERD HOLMES

Obituary Condolences

DYER BRAINERD HOLMES Obituary
HOLMES, Dyer Brainerd NASA's first Director of Manned Space Flight, retired President of the world's largest supplier of guided missiles, Raytheon (NYSE:RTN), designer of the Patriot anti-missile system, and retired Chairman of Beech Aircraft, died on Friday, January 11, 2013, in Memphis, TN. He was 91. Mr. Holmes, affectionately known as "Bear", was born in New York City in 1921, prepared for college at Carteret Academy and Newark Academy in New Jersey, and received his B.S.E.E. degree from Cornell University in 1943. In 1943-1944, as an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve, he completed graduate studies in radar at both M.I.T. and Bowdoin College. He was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of New Mexico in 1963 and an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1978. An accomplished engineer, Mr. Holmes joined NASA in 1961. He led the national effort to go to the moon and directed the government and industry efforts in manned space flight, including the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. The basic program and system decisions were made under his direction. He left NASA upon successful completion of the Mercury program. He is the recipient of the NASA Medal for Outstanding Leadership and the Arnold Air Society's Paul T. Johns Award for outstanding contributions to aeronautics and astronautics. In a 1962 Time Magazine cover story featuring Mr. Holmes, he was quoted, "When a great nation is faced with a technological challenge," says Scientist Holmes with scientific directness, "it has to accept or go backward. Space is the future of man, and the U.S. must keep ahead in space." Mr. Holmes adhered to this edict, continuing to revolutionize the aerospace industry throughout his life. In 1963 Mr. Holmes joined Raytheon as a director, where he initially led military engineering, research and development, until 1975 when he was named President of Raytheon. Upon Raytheon's acquisition of Beech Aircraft in 1982, Mr. Holmes also assumed the role of Chairman of Beech Aircraft. As a commercial rated pilot, Mr. Holmes logged over 4,500 hours in a variety of aircraft, including jets and as test pilot of experimental aircraft. During Mr. Holmes's 23 years of leadership as a director and then President of Raytheon, annual sales increased exponentially to $7.3 billion in 1986, when Mr. Holmes retired. From 1953 to 1961, prior to joining NASA, Mr. Holmes led several key Radio Corporation of America (RCA) initiatives, most notably serving as overall Manager of the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS), for which project RCA was prime contractor to the United States Air Force. The BMEWS system Mr. Holmes designed at RCA protected the United States and allies for over four decades, one of the longest running and most successful cold war projects ever constructed. Mr. Holmes was also Project Manager of the land-based system for both the U.S. Navy Talos missile system and the Launch Control and Checkout Equipment for the Atlas missile system. As General Manager of RCA's Major Defense Systems Division, he provided the technical and management direction of advanced military electronic systems in the fields of detection and warning, aerospace, and command and control. From 1945 through 1953, Mr. Holmes was with Bell Telephone Laboratories and Western Electric Company where he developed advanced repeaters, amplifiers, and measuring equipment. Mr. Holmes served on the Board of Trustees of MITRE Corporation, Bedford, MA and the National Board of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He served for sixteen years as a director of the Bank of Boston; for twenty years as a director of Wyman-Gordon Company, Worcester, MA; and for twenty years as a director of the Kaman Corporation, Bloomfield, CT. Mr. Holmes is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Mr. Holmes is a member of the engineering honor societies of Eta Kappa Nu and Tau Beta Pi. A lifelong Episcopalian, Mr. Holmes was a parishioner of St. Paul's Church in Nantucket. Mr. Holmes also attended St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Wellesley, MA; Trinity Church in Boston, MA; Immanuel Episcopal Church in LaGrange, TN; and Episcopal Church Bethesda by the Sea, Palm Beach, FL. Mr. Holmes's memberships included: the Metropolitan Club of Washington, D.C.; The Country Club, Brookline, MA; the Algonquin Club of Boston; the Nantucket Yacht Club; the Sankaty Head Country Club, Nantucket, MA; Memphis Country Club; Memphis Hunt and Polo Club; and for 25 years he was a member of the Lost Tree Club, North Palm Beach, FL. He is survived by his beloved wife: Mary Margaret England Wilkes Holmes; daughters: Katherine Holmes Kobos (Michael) and Dorothy "Pixie" Holmes Kather; stepson: Scott Pierce Ledbetter Jr. (Margaret O'Connor); step daughters: Baylor Ledbetter Stovall (Howard) and Margaret Ledbetter Weaver (Jock); six grandchildren: Jeff Kobos (Heather), Peter Kobos (Sharon), Chris Kobos (Dana), Matthew Kather (Shoko), Elizabeth Kather (Brian Billington), Alison Kather; five step grandchildren: Scott, James, and Claire Ledbetter (Pierce/Margaret), and Carter and Quint Stovall (Howard/Baylor); and seven great grandchildren: Juliet & Annabelle Kobos (Jeff/Heather), Jason & Claire Kobos (Chris/Dana), Elizabeth Kobos (Peter/Sharon), Ryo & Yuki Kather (Matthew/ Shoko). A private family funeral service will be held in Wellesley Hills, MA. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Paul's Church in Nantucket, MA or the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC. Canale Funeral Directors 901.452.6400 www.canalefuneraldirectors.com

Published in The Boston Globe on Jan. 13, 2013
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