Bonnell Holmes, newspaper editor, wife, mother, and grandmother died November 5, 2022. She was born October 26, 1935, in Valdosta, Ga. Her father Russell Hunter drove his wife Sara from Quitman to Valdosta in a Model T with flickering lights for the birth of their first child at Byrd Hospital.
Bonnell grew up in Quitman and enjoyed the freedom of riding a bicycle down North Court Street, going to the Ilex Theater, playing basketball and cheerleading for the Quitman High School Pirates. After graduation she attended Florida State University, received a degree in speech pathology and went to Moultrie to teach. It was here she met her husband, Jim Holmes, a young lieutenant stationed in Spence Air Force Base.
The couple spent four years in Germany where they enjoyed touring Europe. Following the service years, they returned to Quitman where Jim joined his father-in-law at Hunter Motor Company, an automobile dealership. In subsequent years, Bonnell gave birth to their three children. She joined the Free Press staff in 1988 and worked there as the editor until 2020. Her great joy was writing feature stories about local people and their accomplishments. In addition, she was heavily involved in the community being a member of the DAR, UDC, Garden Club, Museum and Cultural Center and Family Connection. She served as library board chairperson for a number of years and was chairperson when the present library was constructed. The Genealogy Room is named in her honor. Bonnell won the Chamber of Commerce “Professional Achievement” award in 1991 and was named “Woman of the Year” in 2012. Her first love, along with her family, was First Baptist Church where she taught Sunday School in earlier years and served as Women in Missions director in later years.
Bonnell was preceded in death by her husband, Jim Holmes, of 48 years. Survivors include a sister Ruth Robbins; three children and their spouses, Jane (Kent) Cain, Caroline (Jim) Kennerly, and Jimmy (Tori) Holmes; six grandchildren, Travis James Cain, Jenna Bonnell Cain, Sarah Caroline (Sean) Brophy, Katherine Jane (Conner) McKee, Joshua Bonham Kennerly and Ansley Elizabeth
Funeral services were held Saturday, November 12, 2022 at Quitman First Baptist Church with Rev, Steve Shierling officiating. Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.purvisfh.com. Maxwell – Purvis Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.