Catherine Holmes

2 entries
  • "It was with deep sadness I heard of the death of Catherine..."
    - Richard Osler
  • "Catherine was a joy to be with and a vital part of our..."
    - Craig and Cindy Francis
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HOLMES, Catherine Catherine Cecily Anne Holmes passed away very peacefully at home in Oak Bay in the early hours of Thursday 13th December, 2007. She was predeceased by her loving husband, Philip Despard Pemberton Holmes "Pip"who died on May 18, 2007. She is survived by her nieces Penelope and Caroline, her step-son Craig, stepdaughters Diana, Susan and Jenny and their families, the extended Holmes clan and other close family friends. Catherine was born on 8th February 1923. She was the younger daughter of Commander and Mrs. Cecil Webb of Wayside, Bursledon, Hampshire, England. Her Father was an excellent and very keen yachtsman and both his daughters were brought up to sail. Catherine and her elder sister Joan were educated at a Quaker School in Saffron Waldron. Catherine joined the Wrens in 1941 and until the end of the war spent her time ferrying people between their ships and landing craft. After the war, she sailed with Uffa Fox who was a sailing companion of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and worked for Adlard Coles the well known author and sailor. In 1949, Catherine married John Mead and soon after they emigrated to Canada, arriving by ship into Montreal and travelling by train across Canada to Vancouver and by boat to Victoria. There, Catherine worked as an executive secretary at the Hudson Bay Company. When John became ill, she cared for him and still found time to obtain her pilots licence. In 1960, Catherine was widowed when John Mead died of a heart attack. She then decided to visit friends in Montana and stayed on to work for a time on a Ranch there. Looking for greater challenges she returned to Canada and joined the Canadian External Affairs Department. After intense training, she was posted to Moscow in 1962 at the heart of the "cold war", an experience which gave her many stories to tell. During home leave in 1964, Catherine re-connected with Pip, who with his wife Joan had been good friends of John and Catherine in earlier days but whose marriage had been dissolved during Catherine's time in Moscow. Pip and Catherine were married on August 22, 1964 at the Church of Our Lord, and lived happily together in Oak Bay until Pip's sad death. While not travelling with Pip's work, they spent many happy times sailing on their 35 foot sloop, taking to the skies with Catherine at the controls, and graciously hosting their many relatives and friends at their home and at Maltby Lake, all of whom they made most welcome. Catherine will be sadly missed by the many people from near and far whom she touched over the years with her warmth and humour, and whom she inspired with her tireless energy and leadership. There will be a memorial service for Catherine at the Church of Our Lord, 626 Blanshard Street, Victoria BC, on February 9, 2008 at 11:30 a.m. 433403
Published in The Times Colonist from Dec. 22 to Dec. 23, 2007