Candace Vanessa Kay (McClinton) Holmes was born to the parentage of Jacob Sr. and Vesta Rea (Melton) McClinton on September 17, 1962, in Youngstown, Ohio. She was the youngest of four children born to this union. Due to the strong Christian influence of her parents and family, Candace accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior in 1968. Later in life, she used her gifted voice to impact the Kingdom by inspiring many vocalist, developing choirs, and ministering to those in need.
On November 23, 1974, Candace witnessed the traumatic loss of her father in an automobile accident while they were traveling to Texas for the Southwestern Christian College (SwCC) Lectureship. Losing her father at the tender age of twelve was difficult for her, but she strived to live a life that would make God and her father proud. After his death, the family left Youngstown, Ohio and relocated to Terrell, TX, where Dr. Jack Evans, Sr. and family welcomed them with open arms. She began school in the Terrell Independent School District and graduated from Terrell High School on May 29, 1980. She began college at SwCC in the fall of 1980 and while there, participated in the chorus, the “Celestial Singers”, and Summer Tour 1981. She graduated from SwCC in May of 1982 with her Associates Degree in Business.
While working in Terrell after graduation, she met the charismatic man, who would unknowingly become her lifetime “Buddy”, Johnnie Earl Holmes. They welcomed their oldest daughter Sherita on, September 26, 1988, and they were married on January 26, 1989. She was employed at Denton State School during that time. She began working at SwCC in 1992 as the Switchboard Operator. In that same year, she gave birth to her youngest daughter Ciara, on May 16, 1992. Almost years two years later, she welcomed her one and only son, Johnnie Je’Marcus, on December 14, 1994. Working at SwCC was an important, lifelong accomplishment for her. During her tenure at SwCC, Candace served in different capacities. Yet, her most fulfilling role on campus was one that did not come with a paycheck. Her role as “Mama Candace” and “Mama Holmes”, as she was affectionately called, provided her much fulfillment. She cared for the students as if they were her own, nurturing and helping them bridge the gap while transitioning from high school to college. Her office was a safe haven, a place for students to be themselves in a judgment-free zone. It was also a place that many students came to reach into her jar and grab a piece of candy or two throughout the day.
When illness took over Candace’s body the last six years of her life, she was not able to physically be present for all of the events she wanted to attend. Even still, she made time to call or send a text message to check on her numerous family members and friends. Her infectious laughter, witty humor and priceless facial expressions are just a few the characteristics that caused people to love her. Candace continuously placed the needs of others over the desires of her own, and always saw the value in people. These attributes are what made her so unique.
On Monday, January 27, 2020, Candace departed her ailing vessel, leaving behind the memories of her dynamic alto voice, her tear-jerking, shoulder humping laugh, and her irreplaceable facial expressions. She is preceded in death by her father, Jacob Sr., mother, Vesta, one sister, Sherrie and one niece, Crystal Andris. She leaves to cherish her memory: her husband, Johnnie; her children Sherita, Ciara (Tevin), and Marc; eight grandchildren, Jayden, Julian, Kaylani, Princeton, Harmony, Mario II, Nathan and Bryson; two brothers, Jacob Jr. (Delores) and Johnathan (Gale); an aunt, Lucille Lemon, and a host of nieces, nephews, brother-in-laws, sister-in-laws, cousins and good friends.
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