Jan Holmes, beloved Beach Watcher and community volunteer, dies at 61

Jan Holmes, a longtime WSU/Island County Beach Watcher who was honored in 2010 with a KIRO/Cox Conserves Heroes award, passed away Dec. 15 after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 61.

Holmes, a Coupeville resident, was well-known across Whidbey Island. She owned Toby's Tavern in Coupeville for 10 years with her husband, Steve, and her artwork was featured at Penn Cove Gallery.

After joining the WSU/Island County Beach Watchers in 1990, Holmes became synonymous with the program and helped to set up beach monitoring efforts and eelgrass study programs. Her volunteer work with Beach Watchers inspired her to earn a master's degree in marine biology from Western Washington University.

Holmes grew up in the West — North Dakota, Utah and Texas — and her family eventually moved to Arizona, where she went to college.

She joined Hughes Airwest as a flight attendant, and later spent a week as part of the flight crew that shuttled Elvis Presley to Las Vegas when Presley's own plane was grounded for repairs.

It was during her time at Hughes Airwest when she met her future husband; the couple were married for 33 years.

She is survived by her husband Steve; stepsons Brad, Bret and Todd Holmes; and brothers Mark Fridlund and Roger Burns

Plans for a memorial service are pending.

Her family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be directed to LEP-Beach Watchers, the Whidbey Environmental Action Network, or to a scholarship fund being set up in Jan's name at Whidbey Island Bank.

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