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My Friend Al Holmes, the 10th President of the National Taxidermists Association

Discussion in 'The Taxidermy Industry' started by NTAHQ, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. NTAHQ

    NTAHQ Dedicated to protecting the future of taxidermy

    This is one of the most difficult posts I’ve ever had to make. One of my very best friends has passed away. Al Holmes was not only my friend but he was a friend to every taxidermist he met. You may not have always agreed with Al…but you always knew where you stood with Al and he was a dear friend that you could depend upon. If you never had the opportunity to meet him, please let me share with you a few of my thoughts about my dearest friend, Al Holmes.

    Al was the 10th President of the National Taxidermists Association and I was fortunate enough to meet him and call him friend since 1975. Al had countless friends around the nation and I am certain if you could speak with each of them they would all agree that their lives have been blessed and made much richer to have known him.

    Al was one of the greatest auctioneers the NTA has ever had. He raised more funds for the association than anyone with his unique auction style. He gave seminars and judged nationwide and never accepted a dollar for his services. Al was the founder of the Alabama Taxidermists Association and helped establish several other state associations as well as the Southern and Eastern Regional conventions. Al was a member of SCI and 3 SCI state chapters. Al was currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Chapter of SCI.

    Al could entertain family and friends with his many stories and crazy antics. He was full of endless knowledge and was forever putting others’ needs ahead of his own. He could always be relied upon to “make it happen.” He inspired so many taxidermists by his enthusiastic teaching style; his willingness to go the extra mile for anyone with a desire to learn or to better themselves. He was deeply passionate about the love of his life, Evelyn, his children and grandchildren. His passion was deep for the NTA, its history and the honored profession that it stands for.

    I visited Al about 3 weeks ago and being typical Al he was smiling as usual and riding on his cart in the museum. He was energized about running for the Board and excited about the NTA convention in Illinois. You could always count on Al being at the NTA convention with his best friend Evelyn. Al touched the lives of many people with his kindness and generosity, and maintained his trademark sense of humor all the way to the end. How many individuals would give you the keys to their truck and say, “Keep it until you don’t need it.” Al did. At one of the darkest times in our lives when we didn’t know if we even had a home…Al let us use his truck to transport gas from Birmingham, Alabama, to Louisiana, to keep our freezers running when we were without electricity for over a month after Hurricane Katrina. I will forever remember his precious smile and the last words he spoke to me, “I love you too, gal.” That was something special and my life will never be the same without him.

    Arrangements are pending and we will post promptly.
  2. What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal. ~Albert Pine

    Rest in Peace, Al.

  3. The officers, board and members of the Texas Taxidermy Association, Inc. would like to extend our condolences to Evelyn and family.

    I first met Big Al in 1982 at the NTA convention in Wichita, Kansas and although we didn't always agree on everything, I always knew what Al had on his mind. He dedicated his life to taxidermy and helped so very many young taxidermists.

    We appreciate the encouragement, support and awards he provided for the TTAI.

    Bob Wilkins
  4. NTAHQ

    NTAHQ Dedicated to protecting the future of taxidermy

    Funeral arrangements for Al are as follows:

    Ellison Funeral Home
    8801 US Highway 231 North
    Wetumpka, Alabama 36092
    (334) 567-7880

    Visitation will be April 15th at 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
    Funeral will be April 16th at 2:00 PM
  5. John Janelli

    John Janelli New Member

    I just needed to personally thank all those who sent flowers and such beautiful expressions of sympathy to the family of Al Holmes during this sad time of their loss. The day before Al died, a journalist had called to see about taking him down to meet, interview and film Al for yet another documentary of taxidermy. Forgetting the difference that a day can make, I agreed to make the drive down to see Al but not until late May or there abouts. Never in a million years did I think I'd have to send the email to the producers about Al that ended those initial plans.
    For those of our NTA board members who recall visiting Al after the 2009 winter board meeting at his home and "shop", Al never referred to it as a 'studio', we will never forget seeing Al in his motorized wheel chair waving us on into his driveway as we rolled on down Rifle Range road to make the left turn at his gate. RJ went nuts when he saw so much money making stuff strewn about the grounds wishing he had taken his trailer rather a plane to B'ham. Having my truck right there on location along with a few baboon skins Al needed, it was like price haggling with an old world market street vendor rather than a nationally known supplier. I mean you couldn't squeeze in a 1962 supply catalog in that truck's bed that's how packed it was. When we were all leaving, I took advantage of a prime time joke on Al, or so I thought. Being the last one out of the driveway I suddenly stopped, jumped out, walked up to Al and said that I think he owed me just a few more other items seeming how bad he needed those skins. As I was trying to unlock the rusty gate again, it looked like he wanted to run me over with his all terrain wheel chair, LOL!.
    I bent over and picked up a handful of dried leaves from the ground to get the wet rust off my hands. He hit the breaks on his buggy stood up and yelled, "Evelyn!!! Evelyn!!! Janelli is stealing your habitat supply!'' He got me good with that quick move for sure. Getting more serious with him, I hugged him goodbye till the convention that year as I absorbed his affectionate yet stern advice, "Y'all be careful driving home now, ya hear?!"
    Looking in the rearview mirror, I saw Al in the middle of the road waving goodbye until we were well out of sight. That's the way I would always like to remember him.
    We're not going to forget you Al...ever.