Max John Holmes passed away August 15, 2019, at MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center in Mason City, one week after his 89th birthday. He was born August 8, 1930, in Clarion, to Guy and Catherine (Russell) Holmes, the middle of eight children.
Growing up Max worked hard helping his father on the farm. They later lived in the Rockford area, finally moving to rural Nashua where he was graduated from high school. Max continued farming with his father. In 1952 his sister Beth arranged a blind date for him with Mickey Koch, an Iowa State Teachers College student. A year and a half later they were married on June 6, 1953. It was graduation day for Mickey in the morning and marriage for Mickey and Max in the afternoon at the Catholic Student Center for I.S.T.C. in Cedar Falls. Their marriage was to last sixty-six years, and to them were born three children: Kevin Douglas, Loretta Lynn, and Jennifer Sue.
In 1955 after getting deferred for some time, Max volunteered for the draft in the U.S. Army and was sent to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas, and then to Fort Knox in Kentucky for radio school. He and Mickey then moved to Fort Hood in Texas where son Kevin was born. They would move to Fort Polk in Louisiana for his remaining time. Max took early discharge to attend Iowa State Teachers College in Cedar Falls. They lived in Nashua while he attended college and helped his father on the farm. A year later he decided to farm for himself and rented a farm west of Nashua owned by Giles Mitchell. He operated one of the early milking parlors with a herd of sixty cows. Many visitors came to view the operation. Max never walked while working; he ran. Daughter Lori was born during this time.
In 1961 after son Kevin died of Leukemia, Max decided to give up farming to go back to college. In 1962 the family moved to Ames where he attended Iowa State University majoring in farm operations. He finished in two years. Mickey was teaching in Nevada, and the father of one of her students, LeRoy Hansen, encouraged Max to apply for a position with the Federal Land Bank in Omaha. He did so and started employment at the Mason City office. After two years there, he was offered a president's position at Hampton. He and Mickey always liked Hampton when they drove through so they were delighted to move there. In 1974 he was offered regional manager for Federal Land Bank of northern Iowa. The family continued to live in Hampton. He really enjoyed all his coworkers as well as the farmers he dealt with when working there.
The family did move to Belleview, Nebraska, for eight months in 1985. He was offered early retirement and accepted it. So they moved back to Hampton where he was employed by Capital Corporation. He made a trip to Belarus, Russia, during this time to advise farmers in farming. When this employment ended, he took a real estate course in Des Moines and then started working for Hertz Farm Real Estate in Mason City. He worked many years there up until retirement several years ago.
Max at one time was in Kiwanis in Hampton. In early years he was on the extension council in Floyd County and worked in 4-H. Later he worked on the extension council for Franklin County. Max was an active member of St. Patrick's Catholic Church and always helped financially with building projects when asked. In good health he always attended Mass. He always enjoyed the friendship of the many good priests there.
Max was an avid ISU fan and bought season tickets for many years. He loved to golf at the country club and driving his golf cart around their circle with his dog, Speede. He and Mickey enjoyed traveling over the years to Europe, Colombia, and Venezuela. They particularly enjoyed the river cruises in Europe and traveling with a group of friends on several trips. He was a good dad and husband and loved visiting. He also liked his Jack Daniels.
Survivors include his wife Mickey of Hampton; daughters Lori Holmes of Hampton and Jenny (Doug) Elbert of Grimes; grandchildren Cody Elbert of Tiffin, Spencer Elbert of Denver, Colorado, and Rozlyn Elbert of Ames; sister Lynette Swinton of Marble Rock.
Preceding him in death were parents, Guy and Catherine Holmes; son Kevin Douglas; brothers Kenneth, Donald and Dean; sisters Beth, Winnie and Mary Lee.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to St. Patrick's Catholic Church or MercyOne North Iowa Hospice.
I was a young and inexperienced Federal Land Bank employee in the early 80s and Max took me under his wing. Those were difficult times for the Bank, as they certainly were for the Bank’s farm borrowers. Max lived in Hampton and I lived in Iowa City, meaning that the two of us often found ourselves driving into meetings at the corporate office in downtown Omaha. Max was not shy in offering his opinions nor, for sure, in tutoring me. I shall always fondly recall working alongside him and those meetings in Omaha in the middle of the farm depression!
Jenny and Doug and family, You have our sincere sympathy. God Bless You with peace. Love, Kathy and Jodi
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