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“To the family of Roger Holmes: Please accept my condolences for your loss. May you find comfort, knowing that death was never God's purpose for...Read More »
1 of 2 | Posted by: Bea Weston

“Roger was like an older brother to me, although the age difference was really irrelavant. We both served in the military and both went off to war,...Read More »
2 of 2 | Posted by: Chuck Luley - Brother-in-law

Roger Holmes, local radio personality and public servant, passed away Saturday November 28, 2009 at St. Francis Hospital at age 86.

Born Milton Roger Holmes, Jr. in 1923 in Westmont, NJ, Roger was the son of the late Milton R. Holmes, Sr. and Elsie Ginn Holmes. He graduated from Collingswood High in 1941. In 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. During WWII, he landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day+3.

Roger married Joan Treharne, a native of Wales whom he met while serving overseas in 1945. Later that same year, he was honorably discharged. He then received his BA in Radio and TV at Temple University, which he was able to attend through the GI Bill. While at Temple, Roger was the station manager in the early days of WRTI.

Roger and Joan had two daughters, Wendy and Karen; their marriage ended in divorce in 1978. He continued to look out for his first wife's welfare, especially as she has descended into Alzheimer's these last few years.

From 1950 to 1955, Roger was host of WDEL's "Musical Clock." The next two years found him in Cleveland as a DJ and newsman at WSRS.

Roger's longest stint in radio for which he is best known was back in Wilmington as the Music Director and DJ for WAMS from 1957 to 1969. This was a time of transition for radio from playing the popular tunes of Frank Sinatra, the R&B of Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, the rock 'n roll personified by Elvis Presley, to the British Invasion begun by the Beatles.

He will be fondly remembered as the host of WAMS' Saturday morning's "Roger's Record Room" where he played the Top 40 Countdown. Roger hand compiled the Top 40 list from area record stores' sales figures (this was before computers) and then distributed it at the "sock hops" he conducted at fire halls and schools throughout New Castle County, Elkton, MD and across the bridge in southern NJ.

After Roger left WAMS, he was an announcer and DJ at WNRK in Newark from 1969 to 1970. He then switched gears for a time and worked as the Management Assistant to Wilmington's Mayor Harry Haskell from 1970 to 1972, a turbulent time for the city as well as for the country. It was during this time he was able to make the most impact on the community with his life-long belief in civil rights for all.

For a short time, he was back in radio serving as a weekend DJ at WIP in Philadelphia from 1972 to 1974.

The desire for public service proved too strong, and he served as Chief Deputy Register of Chancery for New Castle County for twenty years from 1974 to 1994. During this time, he met and married Joan Robinson, originally from Buffalo, NY. They were happily married from 1987 to 2007 when Joan died after a heroic battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Also during those years, he hosted a big band radio show on WDEL for 3-1/2 years.

His passion for radio resurfaced 15 years ago when he became the host of "In A Mist," the Sunday night Big Band/Swing show on WVUD, the University of Delaware's radio station. His on-air appearances became less and less frequent over the past two years due to his wife's death and the encroaching weakness of aging he would not accept. He loved his show ~ his colleagues at the station, his listeners, and above all, the music.

Roger is survived by his two daughters, Wendy Eshleman of Lancaster, PA and Karen Pocius of Factoryville, PA; and two beloved grandchildren, Nicolette Pocius of Townsville, Australia and Matthew Eshleman of Ithaca, NY. Also surviving are his sister-in-law Martha Holmes of Collingswood, NJ and her two children, Roger's niece Susan and nephew, Jeff; nieces Joanne, Diane and Kris; and brother-in-law Charles and sister-in-law Mary Luley of Cincinnati, OH, and their extended family. His first wife, Lilian Joan Holmes of Manheim, PA, also survives.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 11 am on Wednesday December 30, 2009 at the CHANDLER FUNERAL HOME, 2506 Concord Pike, Wilmington where friends may call from 10 to 11 am. Interment will be private.

Contributions in Roger's memory may be made to either of two of his favorite organizations of the many he supported: The Southern Poverty Law Center, PO Box 548, Montgomery, AL 36177-9621 or the National WWII Museum, PO Box 97336, Washington, DC 20090-7336. Contributions would also be welcomed to honor Roger's memory at WVUD, Perkins Student Center, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716.

The family would also like to thank the caring staff of both Shipley Manor and St. Francis Hospital. His stays in both places were very brief, but Roger's last days were made as comfortable as could be by the staffs' expert care, loving support and compassion, and encouraging humor.

Bless you all.