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Bernard “Bernie” Holmes

Bernie Holmes left this life early on Easter Sunday Morning, April 17, 2022 to be with his departed family and friends.

Bee was born in rural White Oak, Georgia on April 26, 1934.

He was the son of Wesley Holmes and Lilly Hamilton, and he was orphaned by age 8.  He was raised in Savannah, GA until he joined the Army, being attached to the famous 82nd Airborne Division.  Following discharge he moved to Albany, NY and married Edna Slay with whom he had 3 sons:  Elliott, Michael and Garry.  He is also survived by his youngest son, Anthony Holmes.  

He was predeceased by his brother Leroy Holmes, sister, Agnes Fisher, and two of his sons Michael and Elliott.

He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Kathleen, his sons Anthony (Cicely) and Garry Holmes, five stepsons (David (Cheryl), Paul (Diane), Jonathan, Christopher (Kate) and Peter (Michelle) Kowalski), 3 Grandchildren (Allyssa, Antonio and Antanaya Holmes), 5 step grandchildren (Lauren, Claudia, Ashley, and Ava Kowalski and Tristan Mathews- Kowalski).  He has great pride in his only Great Grandchild, Damian Barry.  He is also so proud and grateful to his “adopted” daughter, Barbara Frank who was at his side with Kathy at the time of his death. He also regretfully leaves behind his “Georgia Family”, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Bernie had a long career as a mental health nurse at the Albany, New York  VA Hospital and also at Bay Pines VA in Florida.  He was well loved and respected by his patients and administration during his career.

He was also a well known musician in the Capital District Area, plying great skill on Blues guitar with local bands such as The Capilteers, The Sound System, JR and the Impressions, and Miss Maggie’s Children,   He made appearances at the Apollo Theater and played back-up with such artists as BB King, Etta James, Ruth Brown and Wilson Pickett.  When asked in a recent book interview how he would wish to be remembered, his response was “I would like to be remembered as a talented musician with a good sense of humor who was a true and honest friend and businessman.  I hope that everyone will remember me as a person who has always respected others and given his best professionally and personally.”

Graveside Service is scheduled for Friday, April 29 at 11:30 AM.  Military Honors will be rendered at Gerald B.H. Solomon Saratoga National Cemetery  200 Duell Rd, Schuylerville, NY 12871.  Please arrive between 11:00 and 11:25 if you plan to attend.   

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations, directed toward the building of a new medical training center, to be made in memory of Bernard Holmes to the UT Tyler School of Medicine.  Donations can be made at

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  • JOHANN GRAY says:

    Bernie will be remembered by me exactly as he wished a very gentle respectful funny man whose goal was to make people happy I will miss him he and his wife Kathy have been my friends for many years

  • Bill Francis says:

    While I only had the privilege of knowing Bernie for the past decade, he stands out as one of the most happy, talented, humble and engaging person I have known. His wife, Kathy, was my classmate in high school. My prayers go out to Kathy and Bernie’s family. Bernie is now the lead guitarist in the Heavenly band!

  • Sharon N. Holmes says:

    Oh my God with a sadness of a broken heart ❤️. First of all giving my respect to a wonderful wife who took great care of my Uncle Bee. All Of my childhood life we have called him Uncle Bee that’s who he was to the Holmes Family. Uncle Bee you are going to be missed so much in my life. Uncle Bee was a very knowledgeable of our family tree. You could asked Uncle Bee about anything and everybody he had the answer for you. Now I feel so lost without my Uncle Bee. There is a saying God knows best but I know that deep down in my soul I will missed my Uncle Bee my eyes are filled with tears and my heart is heavy. At this sad time I have to say Goodbye to my Loving Uncle Bee 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 from your family Sharon Holmes.

  • William Kolodny says:

    May you forever RIP. MY deepest condoleces to the family. It was a pleasure to hear you play your guitar.

  • Brandee Holmes says:

    So sad for this to happen. Prayers are with you Kathy and the rest of our family.

  • Anthony Holmes says:

    Uncle Bee touched all of our lives with love guidance and may not be with us every day going forward But will be in our hearts and thoughts for the rest of our lives Aunt Kathy I’m so sorry for your loss.

  • Santo Angel says:

    One of the best blues/funk/jazz guitarist I’ve had the pleasure of performing with in the Capital District. First Playing with Bee in Miss Maggie’s Children and as a founding father of The Sound System, we shared many adventures and memories in life.
    A kind and gentle soul who would listen, attentively, without interrupting and giving sound advice.
    You will be missed. God bless your soul.

  • Stanley Williams says:

    My condolences, so sorry, may god you strength where need and peace…

  • Eugene P Smith SMSgt USAF, Retired says:

    Bernie, was a wonderful man. I was so impressed with being in his presence, his joyful friendly positive attitude made everyone feel welcome and privileged to be with him. Everyone will miss him and GOD will surely welcome him home. I offer my condolences to Kathy, his great wife. I pray that the pain of loss for Kathy is eased by GOD! RIP!

  • Bill Gorman says:

    I had the blessing of meeting Bernie in the VA in Albany NY. I had known his brother Leroy from outsiode the VA as we were in the same club. I have read everything that has been written by all of you & Yes, it’s all true. This was an exceptional man. We were Nurses together on on a Psych unit. We had some very ill vets, some really troubled souls. It seemed that the most difficult were somehow assigned to Bernie. It was just somehow known by the Doctors & Nurses that Bernie had the ability,& skills to help . His kindness, gentleness, Non-Judgemental way of connecting with people. He had a spirituallity that touched the lives of both patients and staff . At times our job & unit was very difficult but when you showed up to your shift, if Bernie Holmes was there you knew everything would be OK. If LOVE is the treasure of life & I think it is, then BERNIE HOLMES DIED A VERY RICH MAN. bill gorman

  • William Kolodny says:

    May you RIP. You were a very talanted musician. I remember you with miss maggaies children and the sound system. My deepest condolences to the family.

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