2014 Archives

University Park leader James H. ‘Blackie’ Holmes III dies at 79

Alumnus who helped SMU in its bid for the George W. Bush Presidential Center

James Hill “Blackie” Holmes III
James H. “Blackie” Holmes III

October 15, 2014

The SMU community mourns the loss of James H. “Blackie” Holmes III, alumnus and former mayor of University Park, who died Oct. 8. 

Holmes was instrumental in helping the University in its bid for locating the George W. Bush Presidential Center at SMU and in University Park, and in strengthening the bonds between SMU and UP. 

He received SMU’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2012 and the SMU Dedman School of Law Distinguished Alumni Award for Private Practice in 2005. He earned two SMU degrees — a B.B.A. in 1957 and the L.L.B. in 1959. While a student at SMU, he was a member of the Swimming Team, Phi Delta Theta fraternity and the Air Force ROTC, which later recognized him as a distinguished military graduate.

From The Dallas Morning News (Oct. 15, 2014):

Staff Writer

James Hill “Blackie” Holmes III was a mediator, whether he was working as a Dallas trial lawyer or a University Park official.

He was recognized for his skill as a civil defense tort litigator. In 1994, he was elected to the University Park City Council, where he served for eight years. In 2004, he was elected mayor and served three two-year terms. The city aquatic center is named in his honor.

Holmes, 79, died Wednesday at Baylor University Medical Center of complications from a heart procedure.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home. Services will be at 4 p.m. Monday at the Church of the Incarnation.

“He was just the best father and husband,” said his wife, Judy Holmes of University Park. “He was a mentor to so many people. So many people looked up to him.”

Holmes adored practicing law, she said.

“He didn’t practice mediation, but he was a born mediator,” Judy Holmes said. “In everything he did — whether it was law or as mayor — he knew how to get the sides to come together. That was one of his great gifts.”

Holmes was born in Birmingham, Ala., and moved to the Dallas area when he was a year old. He graduated from Highland Park High School in January 1953. He was educated at Southern Methodist University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1957 and a law degree in 1959.

Read the full story.

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