Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria VA Membership Council Charter

JAY HOLMES, 1922-2017

Jay Holmes, whose memorial service will be Saturday, April 29, at 2 p.m., was an active member of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church for over 50 years.  He and his late wife Bea (Beatrice) moved to the Washington area and joined MVUC in 1959 when Jay was appointed associate editor of Missiles and Rockets, a trade magazine. They bought a house in Hollin Hills and Jay joined a community chorus that eventually became the MVUC choir. He remained an enthusiastic choir member for most of his life until he had to withdraw because of poor health. He died in January.

Jay was born in 1922 in New York City. He attended schools in Queens and graduated from Queens College (where he met Bea) after serving several years with occupying forces in Germany immediately after Germany’s surrender in 1945. A science writer, he worked for several federal agencies, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). In 1962, he wrote a book, America on the Moon, in which he predicted – correctly, as it turned out – that the United States would make a successful flight to the moon in that decade. He later wrote about environmental topics before most people had become aware of issues involving energy conservation and climate change. For MVUC he served for many years as editor of the church newsletter, which in those days was typed on stencils and duplicated with a mimeograph machine. He was active in Social Justice and, with 40 other MVUC members, attended the rally on the mall at which Martin Luther King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Bea led classes for amateur poets. Each year, members of her poetry group read their original poems at one of the summer Sunday services and, with Jay’s assistance, published collections of their work. In recognition of his many contributions, Jay was given Mount Vernon Unitarian Church’s Lifetime Service Award at the Annual Congregational Meeting In 1996.