Kenneth Bryant Holmes of Los Alamos, New Mexico, age 64, passed away on October 27 in Fremont, California with his family at his side.
He was born on May 15, 1958 in Weymouth, Massachusetts to Richard and Gertrude Holmes and grew up in Hanson, Massachusetts. He graduated with a degree in business from Bryant College in 1980 and then served with the United States Peace Corps in the Solomon Islands. He was a business advisor and teacher in the Solomon Islands, where his daughter, Roycleeen Loqa Holmes was born in 1983. He returned to New England and earned a degree in education and a teaching credential from Bridgewater State University. He taught in Thailand and Massachusetts then came to the Navajo Nation and later Zuni Pueblo to teach. His daughter Royceleen came to live with him in 1992 and he married Jennifer Dotson in 1993 in Zuni. He became stepdad to Jennifer’s children, Travis and Amanda.
He earned his Masters of Information and Library Science from the University of Arizona in 1998 and served as elementary librarian for the Zuni Public Schools. The family moved to Chula Vista California in 2000 where Ken served as librarian at Mar Vista High School and Rancho Del Rey Middle School. In 2007 he and Jennifer came to Los Alamos where Ken served as LAHS librarian until he retired in 2017. He earned a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from New Mexico Highlands University in 2016, a year before he retired. He was a life-long learner.
As a teacher and as a librarian, Ken desired to help students and colleagues access the information they needed to make sense of their world. He made learning fun and developmentally appropriate. At A:shiwi elementary he let kindergartners slide on scooters through a tunnel in the library to find their books and hosted “Camp Chile Cheese Fries” to tell Halloween stories. In his secondary libraries he promoted literature and information literacy using current and ever-changing technology. He created space in the library for high school students to have lunch and talk. He helped digitize and modernize every library he served. He loved bringing art, music and poetry into the library. He was ever ready to collaborate with his colleagues to bring research methods and relevant topics to their classrooms. His respect for order and structure coupled with his divergent thinking and imagination proved to be a fine combination for an inviting, vibrant and useful library.
Ken believed in real-world application of skills and learning. He served as instructor for the UNM/LAHS Community Internship Collaboration, helping students gain on-the-job training in the Los Alamos business community. He hosted weekly discussion groups about alternative education possibilities in Los Alamos. He was a champion of students who struggled with traditional academics and sought to create systems where all learning styles and paces are valued. He dreamed of a school where students and teacher/mentors together create rigorous learning experiences for purposeful learning.
Ken was a man of faith and an active member of every church he belonged to. He served as an Elder at White Rock Presbyterian Church. He led Sunday School classes, and was an active participant in the Los Alamos Science and Faith Forum. He also belonged to the Los Alamos Dharma Group and to many book groups. He read three or four newspapers a day and loved to have discourse with folks from all belief systems and walks of life. He was a good listener. He firmly believed that “Democracy is not a spectator sport,” and he served as a poll worker in Los Alamos County through several elections. He cast his last ballot by mail one week before he died.
He loved to hike and explore the trails around Los Alamos. He worked on the county trail maintenance team and took pride in trail upkeep and “weed wacking.”
He worked tirelessly behind the scenes for the non-profit he helped start, Nihitaa’ Binaanish, Our Father’s Business which serves the Navajo Nation through self-help and mentoring.
Most of all he was a family man, and cherished spending time with the families of his three children and five grandchildren, Diego, McKenzie, Juniper, Nicholas and Luca. He cherished family gatherings, like the week-long San Diego beach house vacations that he planned, promoted and enjoyed each summer.
He was preceded in death by his father, Richard Bradford Holmes and his mother, Gertrude Mary Holmes. He is survived by his wife Jennifer of Los Alamos, his daughter and son-in-law, Royceleen and Sergiu Nedevschi of Fremont, California, His daughter and son-in-law, Amanda and Eddie Ortega of Vail, Arizona and his son and daughter-in- law, Travis Dotson and Theresa Sanders of Coupeville, Washington. He is also survived by his brother Robert Holmes (Stephanie) of Penfield NY, his brother Richard Holmes (Judy) of Duxbury, Massachusetts and his sister Cynthia Chandler (Howard) of Plymouth, Massachusetts along with his nieces, nephews and grand-nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be held at White Rock Presbyterain Church on November 12 at 11:00 a.m. with a reception following. To connect on Zoom to the service please call the church office at 505-672-3682 to secure a link.
The family would like to thank the many friends, family and colleagues who supported him with encouragement and prayer during his final year. Special gratitude to his oncologist and friend, Dr. Ali Raza Khaki and the whole medical team who guided and treated Ken at Stanford Cancer Center in Palo Alto, California.