Emily (Laakso) Holmes

October 1, 1937 ~ December 10, 2022 (age 85) 85 Years Old


Emily was a lover of life, the arts, music, and travel. She was a devoted daughter, wife, and loving mother of 3 children; grandmother of 7, and great grandmother of 4. She enthusiastically celebrated every achievement of each of her family members. Emily endured many challenges over her lifetime with demur and grace. She found comfort in her faith and support from Al-Anon. She enjoyed the prayers from the Church of England and attended Holy Cross Anglican Church of Webster.

Emily had a sincere fondness for her Finnish heritage, which was her first language and culture when born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. She traveled to Finland many times. She loved Finnish coffee bread and the authentic sauna!

She studied at Southbridge, Massachusetts and graduated Mary E. Wells High School in 1955. She attended Simmons College in Boston and completed her Associates degree in liberal arts from Westbrook Junior College in 1958.

She relocated to Rochester, New York with her parents, and that is where at a cookout she met Lawrence B. Holmes, and it was love at first sight. They later wed, on November 26, 1960.

Emily spent the early years of married life as a homemaker. She managed transitioning her family to live a rich life in Rochester, Detroit, internationally in Brazil, then Brighton, Webster, and Maine. She later worked as a secretary at Eastman Kodak for 15 years. She also found time to study early American folk art and mastered theorem painting, joining the Historical Society of Early American Decoration. She had a sincere love of Teddy bears and began making them out of fabric mohair and upcycled fur coats. She enjoyed sharing her love of the Teddy and volunteer work with her local Teddy bear club.

In her youth, Emily was a Girl Scout and attended Camp Wabunaki, an exclusive Girl Scout camp on Hancock Pond, in Sebago, Maine’s lake region. This was made possible by her mother Sylvia being hired as camp nurse, enabling Emily to accompany her. Emily attended as camper and then counselor, for many seasons through high school. Her father Eino also eventually worked as a summer counselor, with his summers free as a high school educator. This experience shaped Emily to become an enthusiastic naturalist and lover of Maine lake living. She may have loved wild blueberries most of all.

Emily was able to bring her children to this special lake for many years, joining her parents at their longstanding retirement summer camp. After Emily’s own retirement she was able to find and purchase her own cottage on the same lake. The time spent at Hancock Pond brought her and her husband Larry many wonderful memories over ten years.

Emily also became a master collector of many items, including antiques, English bone china, Teddy bears, gemstones, fine art, and more. Most of all, she loved finding bargains.

She enjoyed many forms of music, ranging from classical to Abba. She regularly enjoyed British cinema and television. Recent local television favorites included “Jeopardy” and “The Bachelor.”

Emily traveled extensively in the United States, always up for driving and a road trip. Other destinations included the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Finland, Sweden, and Russia.

Unfortunately, age, arthritis, and the isolation of Covid took its toll on Emily. She spent the last year of her life at a local nursing home, but remained sharp and invested in family events, and her devoted husband Larry was at her bedside for evening meals regularly. She and her daughter Marcy even started plotting the long-held idea of a children’s book titled Oliver goes to Wabunaki. Sadly, a sudden new diagnosis cut that project short. She died peacefully at Rochester General with loving family by her side.

A celebration of life and memorial service is planned for Emily, to be held at Holy Cross Anglican Church, Webster, New York, at a later date, tentatively for April 2023. Donations are requested for Holy Cross Church in lieu of flowers.

Emily is survived by her husband Lawrence B. Holmes of Webster NY; children Matthew F. Holmes and Marcy E. Holmes.  She was predeceased by her parents Sylvia and Eino Laakso, her daughter Lisa, and numerous well-loved pets.

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