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URBANA — Kenneth Robert Holmes, 81, died peacefully Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019, at OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center, Urbana, surrounded by his loving family.

A memorial service and celebration of life, with bluegrass music, will be held at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, Urbana, on Nov. 2, 2019, at 11 a.m.

Dr. Holmes was born Dec. 14, 1937, in Lansing, Mich., the son of Evert A. and Cleo O. (Arndt) Holmes.

He was preceded in death by his parents and wife of 51 years, Linda Lou (Dalenberg) Holmes from Kalamazoo, Mich.

Surviving are two daughters, Denise N. Holmes of Fife Lake, Mich., and Kari S. Singh (Nirmal) of Milton, Fla.; two sons, Kenneth R. Holmes Jr. (Kristina) of Columbus, Ohio, and Kevin L. Holmes (Joy) of Hinsdale; nine grandchildren, Savana Holmes, Christopher Holmes (Jessica), Jazmyn and Matthew Singh, Madilyn and Lilia Holmes and Axl, Ellison and Wyland Holmes; and one great-grandchild, Ariella Holmes. Also surviving are two sisters, Billie Zetzman of Fife Lake and Bonnie Hargitt of Lansing.

Dr. Holmes graduated from J.W. Sexton High School in 1955. He earned his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering in 1959, master of science in anatomy in 1966, and earned a Ph.D. in physiology in 1972, all from Michigan State University, East Lansing. From 1959 to 1962, he worked as an electrical engineer in the aerospace industry at Martin Co. in Baltimore. From 1962 to 1965, he was employed as an electrical engineer with the Michigan Department of State Highways, Lansing. He returned to MSU to pursue a graduate education, and after earning his Ph.D., he joined the faculty at the College of Dental Medicine, Southern Illinois University, Alton.

In 1975, he joined the faculty at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois as an assistant professor of anatomy and physiology. As an associate professor, he served as assistant head of the Department of Veterinary Biosciences from 1989 to 1994. From 1994 to 1995, he served the department as interim head. In 1995, he returned to the position of assistant head where he served until his retirement. From 1989 to 2001, he was the director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences. He was a member of the American Association of Veterinary Anatomists and the Phi Zeta Veterinary Medicine Honor Society.

During his time at the University of Illinois, he was also a member of the bioengineering faculty in the College of Engineering, where he taught the Introduction to Bioengineering course. In consecutive years, 1987 and 1988, he was nominated for the Stanley H. Pierce Faculty Award, an award that honors the promotion of faculty-student interaction within the College of Engineering. He also received a Special Commendation for Outstanding Contributions to the Continuation of Excellent Student-Faculty Relations Within the College of Engineering. Upon his retirement in 2001, he became associate professor emeritus at the University of Illinois.

He was involved in teaching undergraduate and graduate students in engineering and professional students and graduate students in veterinary medicine. He was a member of numerous graduate student committees and served as the major or research professor for eight graduate students. He was an active researcher and was an author or coauthor of more than 110 scientific publications and invited scientific presentations. His research involved bioheat transfer and the investigation of tissue microvascular architecture. He was listed in American Men and Women of Science.

He enjoyed gardening, reading, spending time with his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and bluegrass music. Since 1961, he especially enjoyed playing the five-string banjo. He played in several local bluegrass/country bands, including the None Such Mountain String Band, Hickory Wind, High Cross Road, and for 17 years he was a member of The Prairie Dogs band. He gave five-string banjo lessons at the Community Center for the Arts (C4A) in Urbana.

The family would like to thank Dr. K. Patel and the wonderful nursing staff of the CCU at OSF Medical Center (Allen, Dan, Jean, Alana, Denise, John and Katie) for their wonderful care and exceptional support.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Condolences may be offered at