By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun
3:58 PM EST, November 21, 2013
Alexander R. "Ruffie" Holmes, a retired certified public accountant who later became treasurer of the old Church Home and Hospital in East Baltimore, died Sunday of complications from dementia at the Fairhaven retirement community in Sykesville. He was 90.
The son of Dr. James Holmes, a physician, and Rosalie Holmes, a homemaker, Alexander Rutherfoord Holmes was born in Baltimore and raised on Charlesmeade Road and in Stevenson.
Growing up, he was a member of Boy Scout Troop 35 at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and spent summers as a camper and later as a counselor at Camp Pasquaney in Hebron, N.H.
After graduating in 1939 from City College when he was 16, Mr. Holmes earned a bachelor's degree in 1943 from the University of Virginia and graduated two years later from the University of Virginia School of Law.
Despite earning a law degree, Mr. Holmes never practiced law. He became a certified public accountant in 1949 and worked for many years for Haskin and Sells, a national accounting firm.
In 1957, he was appointed the first auditor for Baltimore County government, after it switched in 1956 from the commissioner type of government to its present form, which includes a county executive and council.
Mr. Holmes was selected in 1960 to develop and manage Hospital Cost Analysis Service, a nonprofit, for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland and the Hospital Association, whichmade sure hospital charges reflected costs.
After it was taken over by an accounting group in 1982, Mr. Holmes was named treasurer of Church Home and Hospital, a position he maintained until retiring in 1988.
"In addition to his full-time job, he enjoyed preparing income taxes for a number of individuals," said a daughter, Carrington Holmes Price of Mineral Springs, N.C.
"He was a hardworking man, but also a devoted family man, so he often went home for dinner before returning to work, where he often stayed well into the night," said Ms. Price.
"Because he had a difficult childhood, [he] felt compelled to work several jobs," she said.
The former Stevenson and Garrison resident, who had lived at the Sykesville retirement community since 1997, was married for 56 years to the former Mathilde Keyser "Teally" Clark.
His wife, who died in 2008, had been a member of the Fairhaven board from 1975 to 1990, and had been involved in the development of the Carroll County retirement community.
"He and his wife were pillars of the Fairhaven community. He was a very dignified person yet very warm," said Robin R. Somers, executive director of the retirement community.
"He was a very strong figure here and had served two terms on the Fairhaven Residents Committee and had been involved in many committees over the years," said Ms. Somers.
Mr. Holmes was a longtime communicant of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Owings Mills and had served as church treasurer for a decade.
He also served as a member of the board of the Corporation for the Relief of the Widows and Children of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Maryland.
"He was a giving man with a strong moral compass and worked and served on the boards of a variety of nonprofits," his daughter said. "He was not only a giving man, but a personable one."
Mr. Holmes had been on the board of Hannah More Academy and the Irvine Nature Center.
He was a member of the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club and the Wednesday Club.
An avid gardener, Mr. Holmes enjoyed raising a variety of fruits and vegetables.
"He enjoyed spending his Saturdays aboard his Gravely tractor working in his garden. It was his therapy," said Ms. Price.
Mr. Holmes enjoyed traveling and camping and took two extended camping trips across Canada that lasted nearly two months. He also liked spending time with family and friends at a second home in Ocean City.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at his church, 232 St. Thomas Lane in Owings Mills.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Holmes is survived by a son, Gaylord Clark Holmes of Irvington, N.Y.; another daughter, Anne Rutherfoord Holmes of Westminster; and five grandchildren.
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