John Porter Holmes Jr.

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  • "Extremely shocked and saddened by John's passing, a strait..."
    - Willie Thomas
  • "We live on Woodland Drive (across from the Hunters). I did..."
    - Kai and Tom McGintee
  • "Please accept our deepest sympathies for your loss. May the..."
    - E G
  • "It is with great sadness that John and I will not be able..."
  • "The State of Maine has lost a true sportsman, be it with..."
    - John & Judy Marsh
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John Porter Holmes Jr., 66

YARMOUTH - John Porter Holmes Jr., 66, of Yarmouth, died Oct. 1, 2017, with his family at his side, in the Bettsanne Holmes wing (named in honor of his late aunt), at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House in Scarborough, following complications from cardiac arrest while fishing with friends the previous week.

He was born June 18, 1951, in Portland, and prepared for college at Waynflete High School and Hebron Academy. He attended Babson College, where he majored in business administration, preparing himself to join the family business, Commercial Distributors, a longtime fixture in Portland founded by his grandfather, Herbert S. Holmes, working there with his father John senior and uncle Herbert junior.

When that firm closed, he went on to open a couple of successful businesses of his own, finally settling on the one he truly loved, in Gulf of Maine Yacht Sales. This combined two of his true passions: time spent on the water and extensive boating knowledge.

Another passion was exploring the many lesser-known historical or just-plain-unique Maine attractions: to experience them, speak to the people attending, and, most importantly, to photograph and photo-journal (with comment) such experiences for sending to his family and many friends.

If one was fortunate enough to be on his distribution list, there would be a prime viewing for annual lobster boat races; record Down East snowfalls; scenic harbingers of spring; endless boat shows; behind-the-scenes in boat builders' workshops; boats for sale to include both splendid yachts and cringe-inducing crafts of questionable sea-worthiness; and, yes -- many fishing trips.

Mr. Holmes was a longtime member of both the Portland Yacht Club and the Cumberland Club. Additionally, his membership in the Know-Nothings, an informal weekly gathering of retired community leaders who gathered at those clubs and elsewhere, gave him great satisfaction. His cadre of close friends, warmly known as the Cousins River Ale and Bivalve Society (CRABS), sustained one another for almost four decades with all of life's passages – weddings, births of children and grandchildren, parents' deaths, and career transitions.

He was known as someone upon whom his trusted friends could rely (once helping a fellow CRABS assist the Coast Guard in floating a fishing vessel off the Cushing's Island ledges at two in the morning).

He is survived by his beloved wife of 44 years, Joanne "Jaci" C. Holmes, of Yarmouth; two children, John Porter Holmes III (Meghan), of Flowery Branch, Ga.; and Ashley Holmes Gilbert (Jeffrey), of Saco; two grandchildren, Hannah Elizabeth Holmes and Kipton Jillian Gilbert; half sister, Terri Holmes Kemp, of Yarmouth; stepmother, Beth Norris Holmes, of Portland; stepsister, Betsy Greenlaw, of Portland; brother-in-law, Henry Fowle (Catharine), of Churchview, Va.; and cousins, Heather Holmes Floyd (Bill), of Boston, Mass.; and Bethany Holmes Frank (Lanier), of Washington, D.C.

A service of celebration will be held Saturday, Oct. 14, at the First Parish Unitarian Church, 425 Congress St., Portland, at 2 p.m. A private interment will be held at Pine Grove Cemetery, Falmouth.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests
that any donations be made to the
Maine Island Trail Association
100 Kensington St., 2nd Floor
Portland, ME 04103
Maine Maritime Museum
243 Washington Street
Bath, ME 04530

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Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8, 2017
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