Wednesday, September 21, 2005


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1918 – 2005

Bart Holmes passed away early on September 14 at the age of 87. He died peacefully at home, in his den, surrounded by the models, awards, pictures, certificates, and memorabilia that summarized his very full life.

Bart was one of the early members of the Brooklyn Plastic Modelers Society, one of the guys who first met in Bert Berg’s Clothes Horse dress shop on Kings Highway around 1973. He served a term as BPMS President at Marcy Studios and attended meetings when the Club enjoyed the hospitality of the Ryan Center at Floyd Bennett Field.

Bart was a skilled and prolific modeler who supplemented his love of ships with armor, aircraft, and dioramas. He built the history he loved so much with a modelers’ precision and an artist’s license, carefully posing warships in grimy dry-docks and military figures in realistic fortifications. His basement workshop was a friendly place full of tools, finished models, and always a new project underway.

Growing up as the son of a former Navy diver on Staten Island, Bart always wanted to go to sea. He left home at 16 as a merchant seaman and went on to a wartime commission at the U.S. Maritime Service Officer Candidate School at Fort Trumbull, Connecticut. With ongoing study, he earned a string of demanding sea qualifications equal to any advanced academic degree. Bart Holmes literally navigated around the world and truly loved his life at sea. Bart was an expert on the naval battles of World War One and Two.

In the Second World War, Bart sailed tankers and Liberty Ships across the Atlantic and the Pacific. He was torpedoed by German U-Boats three times and returned each time to another convoy or solo run. He was nearly shot by Japanese holdouts in the final days of World War II. After the war, he remained with the United Fruit Company sailing cargo to Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia and was part of the commercial sealift to supply US forces in Vietnam.

Bart attained his long-time goal to captain his own ship shortly before his retirement in the early 1970s. It was aboard ship that he started model building, first in wood before the advent of plastic kits.

Bart was a vocal patriot and a lifelong Staten Islander. Beneath the bluster of a crotchety sea captain, he was a remarkably intelligent, sensitive, funny man. He read constantly, adored animals, and laughed hard and easily.

Bart Holmes is survived by his wonderful, dedicated wife of 54 years, Norma. He is remembered as a loyal and caring friend.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was with sadness that I learned of the death of Captain Bart Holmes. The modeling fraternity has lost one of a kind from its ranks. Many thanks to Frank Colucci for writing a wonderful tribute to one of our own.
Frank Tripoli