Horace Holmes, 7News journalist with legacy of helping others, dies at 66

Horace Holmes died at the age of 66. (Courtesy Kimberly Lohman Clapp)

The D.C. area has lost a man who leaves behind a legacy of righting wrongs.

For almost 30 years, Horace Holmes spent much of his career at WJLA TV helping those who had been taken advantage of in the community. He was a member of the “7 On Your Side” team and a weekend 7News anchor.

When area residents would call in with a problem, like a contractor ripping them off, or a business victimizing them in some other way, the D.C. native was always ready to help them find a solution or get their money back.

Sometimes, he’d even seek out crooked contractors. In one story, he hired a licensed electrician to create a problem in a home, of a loose wire that should have been an easy fix. Then, he called in eight self-proclaimed electricians from various online sources like Craigslist and Yelp.

When they gave the woman, posing as the homeowner, estimates for hundreds or even thousands of dollars for what they said would be major work, he confronted them.

“We’re putting contractors to the test,” he said in the video, “We created the problem, it’s a little tiny problem and you’re telling her it’s a big job.”

But the stories didn’t stop there.

“I loved Horace. … His best quality was his kindness,” said Kimberly Lohman Clapp, formerly Kimberly Suiters of ABC7 News. She said that she and Horace were the first team members of 7 On Your Side.

He always had something to offer as a learning lesson for all of us, teaching everyone how they could prevent being a victim in the future.

“No matter how stressful a deadline or difficult situation, Horace was always cool under pressure — and lived how he worked: calm, cool and collected,” 7News colleague John Gonzalez told WTOP.

He won seven Emmys for his work.

His family says Holmes died peacefully on Dec. 3. He was 66 years old.

“For our family, this is the greatest loss imaginable. We are going to spend the holidays holding each other close, trying to process the absence of the man who was at the center of our lives,” his family said in a statement.

“Horace lived with complete devotion to his family, friends, profession and this community, and there is no greater testament to that than the love being reflected back to us now in our time of need. For that, and his presence in our lives, we are truly grateful.”

Horace is survived by his spouse, Liliana Henao Holmes and children Emilio and Eliana.

A “celebration of life” will take place at a later date.

Michelle Murillo

Michelle Murillo has been a part of the WTOP family since 2014. She started her career in Central Florida before working in radio in New York City and Philadelphia.

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