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In memory of Barry Holmes


I am saddened to report that long-time Motortruck editor and publisher Barry M. Holmes has passed away at the age of 73.
Holmes was a fixture in the 80-year history of the magazine, serving with the publication from 1973 to 1986. During this time he raised the publication to prominence while reporting on the issues and technologies that shaped our industry such as deregulation, drug and alcohol screening, the failure of large unionization drives, cross-country owner/operator protests, the rise of intermodalism and the introduction of satellite tracking, electronic engines and 53-foot trailers.
Holmes, an avid news reporter, dove into these issues with a striking passion, becoming famous for his exclusive cover features and his hard hitting column. In his last year with the magazine his column was awarded the gold prize at the prestigious Kenneth R. Wilson Awards, the Pulitzer Prize of business journalism.
“Barry had a real love for and deep fascination with this industry and all the issues and challenges it faced as it grew into maturity. Both his love and fascination were evident in his writing from issue to issue and with the sheer excitement he felt every time he reported on a new issue or scored another exclusive,” said editorial director Lou Smyrlis, who started as managing editor with the publication in the latter years of Holmes’ tenure. “But beyond that, Barry was a complex man who was informed on a variety of topics from economics to gardening and always cared for the little guy.”
Don Besler, former publisher of Motortruck, remembers many meetings where Barry stood his ground on all matters editorial. “He took on some absolutely unwinnable causes and you have to love him for it. He was a very unique character and a good man,” Besler said.
Ted Light, former publisher of Truck News, fondly remembers entering the industry some 25 years ago and meeting Holmes for the first time. At the time, Truck News was a competitor publication to Motortruck.
“At this time Barry was the man, he was in top form, the dean of our industry, a widely respected writer whose opinions carried much weight. Frankly I was a little intimidated by him. Much to my surprise and delight Barry was the first to welcome me aboard, a kind and all too rare gesture from a competitor. Through the years Barry and I shared many beers and many conversations, his editorial integrity was unrivalled and often fierce yet as a man he was generous and thoughtful. He will be missed,” Light said.
Upon his retirement from Motortruck Holmes became the owner of Apple Route Bed & Breakfast in Smithfield, Ontario with his wife of 47 years, Jane Marion (nee Cook).
He is survived by his wife and two children, Pamela Buttery (Brian) of Castleton, and Marcus Holmes of Toronto and his grandchildren, Claire and Anna Buttery.


Lou Smyrlis

Lou Smyrlis

With more than 25 years of experience reporting on transportation issues, Lou is one of the more recognizable personalities in the industry. An award-winning writer well known for his insightful writing and meticulous market analysis, he is a leading authority on industry trends and statistics.
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2 Comments » for In memory of Barry Holmes
  1. Rolf VanderZwaag says:

    I too am saddened by the news of Barry’s passing. Barry’s supportive approach provided me with a stepping stone in my career. His self-less personal style matched his passion for reporting a story without bias.

  2. Brian R. Mallett and Ethel L. Beattie says:

    We are sorry to learn of the demise of Barry Holmes some seven years after his death. Old acqaintances Bonnie and Brian were shocked to learn of Barry’s passing. Since Bonnie is suffering from short term memory loss we tried to remember those who we once knew. Barry and Jane came to mind so we decided to use the Internet to see if our old friends might still be alive. We are finding that as you get older we lose track of time and people. We would like to know if Jane is still alive and if so have provided a contact name and address.

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