Cover photo for Louise Holmes's Obituary
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1927 Louise Holmes 2024

Louise Holmes

September 23, 1927 — May 28, 2024

Helen Louise Holmes, age 96, of Newtown Square, PA, passed away on May 28, 2024.  Born in Norwood, PA, she was the daughter of the late James and Helen Bakey (nee Bickta).

Louise was the beloved wife of the late Joseph T. Tierney and the late James Holmes, loving mother of Joe (Donna) and Bob (Carol), loving stepmother of Linda Cook (Bill), adoring grandmother of Kelly Dolan (Tim), Megan Eppehimer (Matt), Allison Tierney (Dave), and Tom Tierney (Maddi), and caring great grandmother of Charlie Dolan. Louise was predeceased by her siblings and their spouses, Julia Graham (Kenny), Ann Scattergood (Bill), Mary Craig (Bill), Henry (Theresa), Edward (Mary), Leonard, and Peggy Serino (Fred).  She is survived by many of her 41 nieces and nephews.

Louise was a person of deep Catholic faith who led by example and personal witness; she wasn’t one for loud or preachy behavior.   She loved her family deeply.  

Louise was a devoted and loving spouse who was married for 57 years -- to Joe for 33 years until his death in 1990, and from 1993, to Jim whom she was with for 24 years until his passing in 2017.

She was immensely proud of her sons and their accomplishments.  Joe and Bob are better fathers, friends, community servants and Catholics due to their mom’s influence and witness.  Louise loved Donna and Carol like the daughters she never had.     

Louise’s vocation was taking care of family and volunteering with the organizations that mattered most to her.  She helped her widowed mother, took care of her aging mother-in-law who lived with her for several years, and tended to Joe and then Jim as they dealt with various illnesses.  She was an amazing mother to her two sons.   

The family recalls her joy when she got the news of the healthy birth of each of her four grandchildren.  Megan vividly recalls Grandmom telling her that she was a big sister.  Kelly also remembers getting the news that she was a big sister, but she also experienced a race to the hospital as she and Grandmom arrived only about five minutes after Tom was born.   

Kelly, Megan, Allison and Tom have many fond memories of Grandmom.  They enjoyed it when Grandmom baby sat.  Grandmom and Jim played games with them--dominoes, Wheel of Fortune, cards and video games.  The grandkids thought it was “cool” that their grandmother played video games with them.   Grandmom nursed their bruises, fed them chicken soup and ginger ale when they were sick, and persuaded them to take their medicine.  Grandmom is a central part of their Holiday memories—they followed Santa on the Santa tracker at Grandmom’s Christmas Eve parties, had the best Christmas cookies and pudding, and loved her home-made mac and cheese.  The family took great joy in watching Mom interact with her grandchildren.  It was magical to see their 70-year-old mother with a big grin play with giggling toddlers.  One of their fondest memories was Grandmom’s phone call each year with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday.”  

It was a special thrill to see the joy and happiness on her face in November of 2023 when Kelly and Tim visited with her first great-grandson, Charlie Dolan—it was a highlight of her life, as it was for all of us who were there to witness it. She held Charlie for 45 minutes and would not hand him over to anyone during that time.   Sadly, she will miss the birth of her first great-granddaughter whom Megan and Matt will welcome in July.   

Louise was a faithful volunteer, serving as a teacher’s aide at St. Laurence School and as a Eucharistic Minister at the Church.  She also raised money for the March of Dimes and St. Charles Seminary.

Louise was the seventh of eight children, and only eight years-old when her father died, leaving her mother to raise the family during the Great Depression.  She grew up in a loving household with a devoted mother and older siblings that helped care for the younger ones.  

Louise was a 1945 graduate of Notre Dame High School in Moylan, Pa.  She played on the basketball team, performed in the plays, served in student government, and was an Honor’s student.   College was not a viable option for her although she surely would have made the Dean’s list had she attended. After graduating high school, she worked for the government typing War Bonds.   She gave half of her paycheck to her widowed mother, a practice that would continue for nearly two decades.  She worked as a secretary for most of her adult life taking about a dozen years off when Joe and Bob were young.

Louise was part of a self-proclaimed “sorority” or ‘club’ that consisted of a dozen of her high school classmates.  Club met without fail once a month for nearly 70 years before declining health and the passing of some of the members intervened.  The members of club attended each other’s weddings, children’s bridal and baby showers, enjoyed an annual trip to the Shore the weekend after Labor Day, and supported each other through the challenges of life.  Alberta Tierney, Louise’s sister-in-law, had the distinction of being the only member of club who was not a Notre Dame grad; Louise invited her to join club when she moved to the area from Scranton.  


To her 41 nieces and nephews Louise was known as “Aunt Lou” on the Tierney side and “Aunt Louise” on the Bakey side.  She loved all of them, and their spouses, very much.  


Mom was a true Delco girl, although she probably never referred to herself in that manner.  She lived in Norwood, Upper Darby, Newtown Square and Media, picking up lifelong friends at each stop.  She vacationed with her husband Joe on trips to Hawaii, Ireland and Germany; spent summers at the lake house that Joe shared with his brothers and their families; and went on a dozen cruises that she took with Jim.  


She was an incredible combination of sweetness and toughness.  It was that toughness that allowed her to get through the suffering associated with the loss of a full-term stillborn son in 1960.  That toughness   showed itself in the early 1950s when the owners of the cemetery where her father was buried sold the property to a developer who planned to convert the cemetery to a parking lot.  Louise positioned herself in front of the construction equipment and refused to budge.  Her actions delayed the construction project.       


Her sweetness and kindness emerged in many ways.  She was a favorite of the staff at her assisted living community often complementing them on their jewelry and hair and thanking them frequently for the care that they provided.   On another occasion when she was at the airport waiting to board a flight, she overheard a distraught mother on her phone lamenting to a person that she had lost her wallet and didn’t have any money to buy a meal for her four young children who were travelling with her nor any money to get the five of them home from the airport.   Louise walked over to the woman, who didn’t realize that she had been overheard and hadn’t asked for money, and handed her $100 so that she could feed her kids and get home.  


Mom had several guiding principles for how she led her life:  stay humble, agree to receive help, accept your limitations, enjoy the simple things in life, have a spirit of gratefulness for the experiences of your past and for the activities that you are still able to participate in as you age, and always enjoy family visits.  


May she rest in peace.


Relatives and friends are invited to her Viewing 9:30-10:45 AM on Saturday, June 1st, 2024, at St. Laurence Church, 8245 West Chester Pike, Upper Darby, PA 19082, followed by her Funeral Mass at 11:00 AM. Interment will be at SS Peter & Paul Cemetery.


Contributions in Louise’s name to St. Laurence Church at the above address would be appreciated.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Louise Holmes, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Saturday, June 1, 2024

9:30 - 10:45 am (Eastern time)

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Saturday, June 1, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Saturday, June 1, 2024

12:30 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery

1600 Sproul Rd., Springfield, PA 19064

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