William Alan Holmes

His Life Story 1945 - 2020

1945 -1963

Born on December 12, 1945 in Columbus, Indiana to the family of Dorothy Holmes, John Holmes and their seven year-old son Steve.  John worked for the local electric company and also managed a portion of his family's farmland.  He encouraged his sons not to farm but instead get college educations. 

1963 -1967

Bill attended Rose Polytechnic Institute (now Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) in Terre Haute, IN., graduating with a Mechanical Engineering Degree.

At the age of 21 he married Suzzette Smith and in time had three children: Jeff, Amy and Emily.

Bill Sculpting Dr. Watson's Clay 

1967 - 1974

During the Vietnam War Bill served for seven years as a Captain in the Air Force, obtaining his Master's ME Degree from New Mexico State University, and working as a Flight Test Engineer.


At Tyndall AFB and Wright-Patterson AFB he was part of the team working on the new F-15 Jet. They designed, tested and established the first on-board monitoring system, known as the

"On-Commission Maintenance System".  His team created instrumentation and new data analysis methods using information transmitted to ground stations from fighters flying over test ranges.

1974 - 1979

After the Air Force, Bill was hired by a local Consulting

Engineering Firm to start their Energy Conservation Department.  It provided traditional energy consulting services based on projected data.  These included energy audits, data logging, detailed studies and capital improvement designs.

1979 - 2007

After dissatisfaction with the minimal energy savings from these methods, Bill started his company, Utilitrac, to obtain real-time, accurate data from buildings. This data was essential to operate systems at peak efficiency under all conditions.  At the time he was also teaching classes in Thermodynamics and related courses at Purdue University.

Bill designed, built and installed his first Energy Monitoring System in 1979 using components from a deconstructed Apple II.  He and his son wrote the software in"Basic" developing new analytics based on problem solving and continuous improvement standards.  The system continuously determined, displayed and stored the efficiency of all the building's energy systems.  During this time Bill successfully partnered with Columbus attorney John Rumple.  Bill closed Utilitrac when John died suddenly at the age of 57.

Bill and Suzzette divorced in 2007.

2007 - 2013

Bill worked for several years in a group home.  He and the residents enjoyed lots of "adventures" that included lunches at McDonald's, watching local ball games, visiting garage sales, flea markets and attending the Special Olympics, where Bill was their horseshoe coach. 


During this time Bill sculpted portraits of the residents and donated them to their families.  He started Bill Holmes Sculpture and later opened a sculpture studio in Haden, IN.

Bill moved to Steamboat Springs, CO where he restarted his engineering business as Holmes AutoPilot LLC.

2013 - 2018

In 2013 Bill married Shelly Kraemer in Fort Collins, CO.  After she retired they traveled in a motorhome for three years throughout the Western US.  During this time Bill was writing energy efficiency articles and blogging for Sustainable Plant Magazine and Plant Services Magazine.  Bill wrote a book Unleash the Power of Cloud-Based Monitoring in your Facility with comics starring their big black dog Romeo, alias "Watson".


Bill and Shelly moved to Pagosa Springs, CO where they planned to eventually retire.  It was here that a little dog appeared to Bill in a dream, asking Bill to come get him at the local shelter.  The puppy turned out to be a frisky Sheltie they named Dr. Watson.  He instantly became Bill's studio dog and constant companion.

Cartoon starring Romeo as "Watson" 

Dr. Watson

Bill constructed portable AutoPilot units and with

IT Superman Nick Bobak, continued to refine the software using cloud-based analysis, reporting and communication. 


Bill was invited to a major Energy Conference in

NC, meeting with state industrial and utility representatives interested in AutoPilot.  Bill and Shelly moved from CO to New Bern, NC to pursue the opportunities.


Bill effectively demonstrated the AutoPilot System at month-long trials in several NC plants on the brink of closure.  The system worked beautifully and uncovered significant savings achievable from low cost operating changes.  Sadly, he was both encouraged and completely blocked by committee corporate politics.

2018 - 2020

In September 2018, Bill, Shelly and both dogs evacuated New Bern before Hurricane Florence destroyed large sections of it.  They traveled west for six weeks until enough debris in New Bern had been removed to open the roads.  Thankfully they saved all Bill's sculpture.

They settled near Asheville, NC in Mars Hill on a beautiful family farm, renting a 1920's milk house that was the perfect studio.  It was here that Bill finally became a full-time sculptor and Shelly learned to mold and resin-cast his clays.  Bill also "worked" part-time for an agency that helped people stay in their homes until assisted living was required.  He absolutely loved interacting with these people and often said it gave him a balance that improved his sculpture.

Bill had the marvelous gift of being able to sculpt realistic

3-D portraits from his imagination, photos, videos or real life. 

He gave his pieces a "spark of life" that constantly amazed

people and drew crowds whenever he sculpted at art events.

Bill's sculpture was easily accepted at juried art events

throughout Western NC and at the Historic Woolworths

and Kress Galleries in Asheville.  Asheville Made Magazine

published an article featuring him in their July 2019 issue.

In January he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation due to 

severe arterial blockages.  On January 6, 2020 he had a triple

bypass and aortic valve replacement open-heart surgery.  

On Sunday January 26, while recuperating at home, he died

very suddenly of a massive heart attack while Shelly was

assisting him walk.  In deep mourning sweet Romeo died

a few weeks later.


Bill was cremated and requested no funeral or memorial

service. Bill is survived by his wife, Shelly, his brother Steve,

sister-in-law Anita and three children Jeff, Amy and Emily. 

Bill was especially proud of his children and of being a

father.  He mentioned them often and no matter what, he

always treasured their bright light in his life.

Bill Holmes Sculpture will live on. To honor Bill's unique talent, kind heart and gentle Spirit, Shelly will continue to produce Bill's art with the assistance of his Sheltie, Dr. Watson, at her side.



Demolding Thor

Dean Herman Moench


Institute of Technology  

Early Aviatrix 

(Will be molded & cast)

President Lincoln 

(Will be molded & cast)

Helmet Dude Flying Jet

Hanging Wind Vane 

(Will be molded & cast)

Super Dude with Cape

Hanging Wind Vane 

(Will be molded & cast)

Uncle Sam Dude Riding Rocket

Hanging Wind Vane

(Wil be molded & cast)

  Copyright Bill Holmes 2020                                                            Contact Bill: billholmessculpture@gmail.com