George Holmes, Longtime Head Editor of JCK Magazine, Dies at 93

MajorsJun 27, 2022

George Holmes, Longtime Head Editor of JCK Magazine, Dies at 93

He first took a job at then Philadelphia-based Jewelers’ Circular-Keystone in 1963 and retired in 1996.

Outside of work, longtime JCK magazine Editor-in-Chief George Holmes loved to hike and visited America’s and Canada’s national parks many times alongside his wife of 51 years, Deborah. Holmes died June 20 at 93.
Downingtown, Pa.—George Holmes, the longtime editor-in-chief of JCK magazine who guided the publication’s award-winning coverage, died June 20.

He was 93.

Holmes was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1928.

The youngest of three boys, Holmes lost his father, a captain in the British Army during World War I who was exposed to chemical warfare, to pneumonia before he was born.

He and his brothers were granted the right to be educated at a school for children of families with limited means, and the headmaster worked to ensure Holmes got into Trinity College Dublin.

He majored in modern languages there, graduating in 1950.

He was committed to becoming a journalist, and finally got his break when he landed a job as a reporter covering a quiet Sunday beat at The Irish Times.

In 1954, Holmes was one of only two overseas journalists to win a fellowship in journalism from the University of Michigan and spent the second year of his fellowship writing for three Michigan newspapers.

He eventually returned to Europe to work at The Manchester Guardian before returning to North America and working for the Detroit Times, The Globe and Mail in Toronto, and The Wall Street Journal.

Feeling like a “cog in the wheel” at these large newspapers, Holmes took a job with a smaller publication in 1963—a trade magazine covering the jewelry industry that was then based in Philadelphia and called Jewelers’ Circular-Keystone.

He rose to the rank of managing editor but left in 1968 to start a Philadelphia-focused business weekly.

In 1974, the publication lured back Holmes and his friend Charles Bond as editor and publisher, respectively. His wife, Deborah Holmes, whom he married in 1971, was already working as the magazine’s masthead editor; she eventually became its managing editor.

Holmes remained at JCK until his retirement in 1996, tackling the important issues facing jewelers, including soaring gold and diamond prices in the late 1970s and early ‘80s and sky-high crime rates, while also making a significant contribution to service journalism by providing useful advice for working jewelers.

During his tenure, the magazine won 16 Neal Awards from the American Business Press, and Holmes won a Crain Award for distinguished editorial achievement.

He also was a member of the group that launched the JCK show in Las Vegas in 1991.

Outside of work, Holmes and his wife loved to read, garden, and hike. They visited their favorite national parks, including Banff and Yoho in Canada, Acadia in Maine, and Saguaro and Chiricahua in Arizona, many times.

Holmes is survived by his wife, Deborah.

There will not be a public funeral, but a memorial gathering is planned.

Those wishing to make a contribution in his memory can do so to the Brandywine Valley SPCA, Habitat for Humanity of Chester County, or the Chester County Food Bank.  
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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