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.