School 14

Gary Michael Holmes

February 23, 1986 ~ November 19, 2021 (age 35)


Gary Michael “Mick” Holmes, age 35 years of Berrien Springs, Michigan, father, son, brother, gardener, reader, and master of the smoker grill died peacefully at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 19, 2021 at his home following a brief illness.

He was born on February 23, 1986 in Berrien Center, Michigan to Gary O. and Thresa (Wilson) Holmes.  He completed his education online through the Penn Foster High School division of Penn Foster, Inc., and played baseball in the FOP league, where he was a respected pitcher.  He has lived in this area all of his life, and was formerly employed as a logistics specialist for L& J Fire Equipment before choosing to be a stay-at-home dad.

Mick enjoyed gardening and then cooking with the fresh vegetables, and canning the surplus produce for later use.  His culinary skills were also evident at the grill where he developed recipes and methods to smoke various meats.  The results of his smoking became well-known, and he opened the Tall Oak Smoked Meat company to fulfill requests.

He was an avid reader with a special interest in the American novelist, Ernest Hemingway and the works of the English writer, J.R.R. Tolkien.  Mick was also a great fan of Michigan State University, even when the Spartan green and white clashed with some maize and blue pride in the same house.  But above all of these pursuits, his greatest interest was his family.

He was survived by his father, Gary O. Holmes, who sadly died just twenty-nine days later – of the same illness, in the same home.  Mick was also sadly preceded in death in 2009 by an infant daughter, Emma Holmes.

Surviving family includes his children, Caydence Holmes, Elleanor Holmes, Olivia Holmes, and August Holmes; his mother, Thresa Wilson of Galien, Michigan; his step-mother, Vic Holmes of Berrien Springs; Mick’s sisters, Lisa Tyler Holmes of Berrien Springs, and Chelssy Elizabeth Bennett of Mishawaka, Indiana; several nieces and nephews, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Plans for a combined Memorial Service for Gary Michael Holmes and his father Gary O. Holmes are in-progress, and will be announced on this webpage by the Halbritter-Wickens Funeral Home, 615 East Main Street in Niles.  Online condolences may be left at:

Mick truly personified the term “homebody”, from choosing to learn from home (way before the pandemic made it common), managing the service appointments and parts orders of L&J from home, working the kitchen and grill, and having a quiet corner to read.  But more importantly he enjoyed the people in his life: the ball team, the folks he served from his kitchen; and – most importantly - his family and kids.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gary Michael Holmes, please visit our floral store.


Services are to be announced

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