W. Kern Holoman died peacefully on Monday, April 20, 2015, following several months of declining health. He was 94.
Holoman was born in Richmond, Virginia, on August 10, 1920, the fourth and youngest son of Dallas Holoman and Edna Pleasant Lockwood Holoman. He was named in honor of his mother's stepfather, William D. Kern, a postal worker in Richmond.
Upon moving with his family to Raleigh in 1925, Holoman attended Raleigh public schools and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned a bachelor's degree in English literature and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Immediately upon graduation he entered the United States Army, in which he served on active duty from July 1942 until January 1947. He was commissioned from the ranks in France in 1944. His significant service in World War II was in military government in Germany.
Holoman retained his affiliation with the military for the next 35 years as a member of the North Carolina National Guard, retiring in 1980. He held numerous command and staff positions and left the Guard as Deputy Adjutant General of North Carolina, with the rank of Brigadier General.
In civilian life Holoman joined the family business, Boylan-Pearce department store of Raleigh, which he ran with his father and his brothers Dallas, Jr., Chreston, and Boyce. He was a buyer, merchandise manager, and officer of that corporation until his retirement in 1980. He was president of Cameron Village Merchants' Association in 1971–72 and received its Merchant of the Year award that year.
He was active in civic life, with service in numerous leadership positions. He was president of his Rotary Club in 1975–76 and received its award for outstanding service in 1979. Holoman was a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary and a Rotary Benefactor.
W. Kern Holoman was a dedicated member of Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, where he served extensively in leadership ministries including as chairman of the Administrative Board. He taught Sunday School more or less continuously from 1956.
In June 1943, he married Katherine Herring Highsmith of Raleigh, at Edenton Street on a brief leave from the Army. They were married 54 years, until her untimely death. Kaye and Kern worked tirelessly for the church, where they each delivered the annual Laity Day sermon twice.
They are survived by four sons: D. Kern (and Elizabeth) of Davis CA, Richard (and Carolyn Cosgriff) of Plano TX, and also Sandra Lear of Marshall, NC, Christopher (and Connie) of Amherst NY, and David (and Debbie) of Raleigh; nine grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, as well as numerous nephews and nieces. Holoman is also survived by his beloved sister-in-law Louise Wilkerson and was recently predeceased by his longtime companion Jacqueline Harper.
The funeral will take place at 2:00 pm on Friday, April 24, 2015, at Edenton Street United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Edenton Street United Methodist Church, or to the charity of one's choice.
Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, Saint Mary's St., Raleigh.