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Obituary: Curtain falls on actor, director, teacher David Holmes
David Holmes' likely sensed The Importance Of Being Ernest might be his swan song after its boisterous run in June.
Fighting a renewed bout of cancer, the popular Cowichan actor, director, dry wit, political animal, teacher and father lost his battle to the disease Oct. 3
He was 74.
But Holmes' tragic exit didn't quite end with Ernest — he was directing his Vagabond troupe's version of Noel Coward's comedy Hayfever, when he died in hospital.
Stage manager, Jim Cleough, is assuming Holmes's directorial duties for the show opening Nov. 14 at the Mercury Theatre.
"David was the reason Hayfever's happening. I had not been one of the actors, and told David I'd be his stage manager and support guy."
Holmes had plenty of support from students and actors while working with local companies spanning the South Island Musical Society, Mercury Players, and Vagabond — which staged Ernest.
"When you were David's friend, you were a lucky person," Cleough said. "He valued friendship very highly, but was always a little prickly; David didn't care for idiots. He really appreciated excellence and always strived for that.
"Working with him as an actor was a brilliant opportunity for me due to the amount of work he put into his craft and gave back to you and everyone who worked with him. He as a great man."
Holmes' first love, added Cleough was teaching "and he was a great actor."
Armed with studies in theatre, English, and Psychology from the University of Wales — and courses at UVic — Welsh-born Holmes taught English at Cowichan Secondary School for years, while pursuing his stage passion in a raft of roles with various Cowichan troupes during the past two decades.
Our Town, Love Letters, and many more plays kept Holmes hopping while penning pointed letters to editors about valley roundabouts, government waste, school management, and other current issues.
His legacy will be his dramatic footprint he left in Cowichan, Cleough explained.
"The Mercury Theatre, that he was a co-founder of, continues on and will be strengthened. We're carrying on his play. It'll be a great production with a great cast, for the public to watch as David's legacy.
"I'm putting through what he chose, it's the last chapter in his novel."
Holmes was cremated Oct. 9. His remains will be taken back to Wales for placement beside his mom's s grave, Cleough said. He is survived by three daughters.
One, Sarah Wilson, posted this on his Facebook page.
"I love you dad. I know you're finally feeling comfort. Thank you for everything you taught me. Thank you for choosing to be my dad. You will be missed by so many people. Your legacy will live on in the boys. I will tell them everything."