Greg Kot

Wendell Holmes

Wendell Holmes

Wendell Holmes, a pianist, guitarist, songwriter and singer who performed as a member of the noted Holmes Brothers trio, died June 19 of pulmonary hypertension at his Rosedale home. He was 71.

The son of Sherman T. Holmes Sr. and Easter Dusten Holmes, educators, Warner Wendell Holmes — he never used his first name — was born in Plainfield, N.J., and raised in Christchurch, Va.

Mr. Holmes was born into a musical family. His father played the trumpet and sang, and both of his parents encouraged Mr. Holmes and his elder brother, Sherman T. Holmes Jr., to listen to Baptist hymns, as well as to blues singers such as B.B. King, Junior Parker and Jimmy Reed.

As a youngster, Mr....