Johnnie Ruth Holmes, née Lewis, went to her eternal home on January 3, 2021, in Waco, Texas, at the age of 90. Private funeral services will be held at Sardis Baptist Church on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at 3:00 p.m., with Reverend Jerry Fulton officiating. Interment will follow at Sardis Cemetery. Pallbearers will be her grandsons and great-grandsons.
Johnnie Ruth was born on November 19, 1930 in Donie, Texas to John Horace & Lola Beatrice (Archer) Lewis. She had an older brother, Eldon Lewis, and an older sister, Lois (Lewis) Chandler. Later her family welcomed a younger sister, Bobbie Nell (Lewis) Hinton, and a younger brother, Kenneth Lewis. Johnnie Ruth was a loving sister and daughter. Her childhood was filled with happy memories laughing with friends, playing under her grandparents’ porch, tap-dancing, riding her horse to piano lessons, and attending singing school and church with her family.
At age 13, Johnnie Ruth was walking through the Mexia High School study hall when Charles Holmes, age 14, saw her radiant smile for the first time. He instantly declared to his buddy that he was going to marry that girl. Johnnie Ruth moved to Pasadena, Texas shortly after that, where she ran track and worked at a dry cleaner’s before graduating from Pasadena High School. Not the least bit deterred, Charles drove his egg truck down to see her as often as he could until she agreed to become his wife. They were married on July 26, 1947, in Pasadena, over 73 years ago. Immediately after their wedding, they drove to Mexia, where they started their family and built a beautiful life.
Johnnie Ruth was a devoted, diligent, and doting mother. She worked hard to ensure that her children were happy, healthy, and educated, all while running a household complete with cows, horses, chickens, turkeys, and dogs. She insisted that each child take piano lessons for at least one year and made sure they never left the house without pressed clothes. She cared for her husband’s elderly parents tirelessly and loyally, bringing them daily meals, tending to their home, and running errands for them. In 1975, Johnnie Ruth obtained her insurance license and worked alongside her husband in his insurance agency. She made certain that her whole family attended Calvary Baptist Church faithfully, where she taught Sunday School, Training Union, Vacation Bible School, and served as the Director of the Beginner Department for over 20 years.
Johnnie Ruth was a woman of extraordinary talent. Her cooking and baking were legendary, especially her chocolate pie. Whether it was an award-winning quilt or a granddaughter’s prom dress, she could sew just about anything. She was an accomplished painter and a skilled gardener. Yet there was no activity more fulfilling to her than spending time with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Johnnie Ruth’s descendants will never forget the endless hours of fun she spent with them, playing with beans in the kitchen floor, making them malts and milk-and-crackers, teaching them valuable skills like quilting, embroidery, and gardening, and so much more. No words can describe the blessings she brought to each of their lives.
What most people will remember about Johnnie Ruth is that she was truly a servant of the Lord who treated everyone with Christ-like love. When she was a little girl, a neighbor began calling her “Shine.” Although she found the nickname irritating, it stuck for the rest of her life. The name fit her so well because of the unforgettable way the love of Jesus shined through her beautiful smile. Her abounding joy came not from her external circumstances, but from the knowledge that her soul was saved by grace. Thus, she focused her energy on spreading that joy to every life she touched. Johnnie Ruth showed everyone the same effusive kindness, whether they deserved it or not. She could not help it. She simply shined.
She joins her mother, father, siblings, and her precious grandson, Alex Fleming, in the Kingdom of Heaven.
She is survived by her beloved husband Charles N. Holmes, her children and their spouses: Linda Archibald and husband, Billy, of Mexia, TX, Dr. Charley Holmes and wife, Diane, of Jacksonville, TX, Molly Frost and husband, Marcus, of Mexia, TX, and Amy Holmes of Waco, TX. She is also survived by her grandchildren and their spouses: David Archibald, Amy Kay Shaw and husband, Cory, Rachel Chandler and husband, Randall, Rebecca Jones and husband, Tim, Clint Frost and wife, Kayla, Hayley Vest and husband, Jeff, April Spencer and husband, Philip, Sarah Fleming and Levi Fleming. Her surviving great-grandchildren include Peyton, Avery, and Audrey Archibald, Megan and Leah Shaw, Tanner, Ty, and Tate Chandler, Corbin and Easton Jones, Presley and Harrison Frost, Kolton Key, Grant and Ava Vest.
“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” Proverbs 31:28
Memorials may be made to the Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 670, Jacksonville, TX 75766.