Regina B. Holmes, community activist


by Walter Fox

Regina Brunner Holmes, 85, an editorial assistant at the Chestnut Hill Local and a former associate director of the Center in the Park in Germantown, died June 29 after she was attacked by a knife-wielding intruder in her East Mt. Airy Home.

Mrs. Holmes had worked for more than 20 years at the newspaper as a proofreader and typist.

Before coming to the Local, she had been associate director for 22 years at the Center in the Park. She had been hired in 1974 as nutrition program director by the Northwest Center for Older Adults – as the CIP was then known – and wrote a proposal to the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging for a nutrition project for senior citizens that was funded and became one of the first PCA meal sites in the city.

During her tenure at CIP, Mrs. Holmes was head of social services and also edited all of the center's publications.

Lynn Fields Harris, CIP director, said it was Mrs. Holmes' “interest in healthy aging for older adults that led to the formation of the center's award-winning health promotion programs like Passport to Health.”

“We will remember how she lived, laughed and smiled and gave generously of herself to the community, older adults and Center in the Park,” Harris said, “and we will honor her as we continue to live out the center's mission and uphold her legacy.”

Rennie Cohen, a former director of CIP who worked with Mrs. Holmes, described her as an “incredibly intense person who was very kind and very generous.”

“We were very different persons who learned how to respect each other and come out on top,” Cohen said.

Born Regina Kohn in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia, Mrs. Holmes attended Overbrook High School and the University of Chicago. She received a master's degree in psychology from Goddard College. As a young woman she had participated in civil rights marches in Illinois.

She was a member of the Northwest Village Network and Weavers Way Co-op.

She enjoyed painting, composing poetry and solving crossword puzzles.

She is survived by sons Eric Brunner and Adam Brunner; a brother, Louis Kohn, and three grandchildren. Mrs. Holmes' first husband, Charles Brunner, and her second husband, the Rev. W. Benjamin Holmes, preceded her in death.

A memorial service was held July 5 at the Joseph Levine and Son Memorial Chapel in Trevose. Memorial donations may be made to the Center in the Park, 5818 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19144, or to the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Temple University, 1515 Market St., Suite 525, Philadelphia, PA 19102.