Mrs. Holmes began her 40-year teaching career in 1956 in the kindergarten of the Gouldtown public school near Bridgeton, Cumberland County.
She later earned a master's in education at Rutgers-Camden and retired as a supervisor for the Camden City School District in 1996.
She did graduate studies at Michigan State and Temple Universities.
Cousin Janicka Newbill said "she never regretted that she didn't have children," because "every child she taught and all of her family, she considered us her children."
Newbill recalled that "she understood that the legacy of a life" is not only to accomplish "for yourself, but to make sure that you definitely get involved in your community."
Besides heading the New Jersey State Federation of Colored Women's Clubs, she was president of its southwest district from 1968 to 1972 as well as its state historian for a time.
She was a board member of the New Jersey Historical Commission and of the Fair Housing Councils for Camden and Gloucester Counties.
A charter member at the 1960 founding of the Women's Progressive Club of Swedesboro, she was for a time its president.
She was a member of the NAACP, the Lawnside Drug Alliance, the League of Women Voters and the Order of the Eastern Star.
The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority gave her its Drum Major for Justice award and the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority gave her its Woman of the Year award.
St. John Baptist Church in Camden, where she had long worshiped, named her a deaconess in 1982.
Besides her cousin, she is survived by a brother and an aunt. Her husband, John, died in 2007.
A viewing was set from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 19, at the Carl Miller Funeral Home, 831 Carl Miller Blvd., Camden, and from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday at St. John Baptist Church, 400 N. 30th St., Camden, N.J. 08105, before a 9:45 a.m. service there by the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, followed by a service by Eastern Star members and an 11 a.m. funeral service. Interment is to be in Harleigh Cemetery, Camden.
Donations may be made to the St. John Baptist Church Scholarship Fund at the above address.
Condolences may be offered to the family through Jeanne Holmes, Box 1562, Bellmawr, N.J. 08099.
Contact Walter F. Naedele at 610-313-8134, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @WNaedele.