Family, friends, business associates and LDS Church leaders paid their respects to Anna Lee Davis Holmes during a funeral Tuesday, one day after she would have turned 32.
The fact that an unusually large number of teenage girls were among the hundreds of people at the service was a fitting tribute to a woman who was a local leader of young women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the mother of four daughters. Mrs. Holmes' fourth daughter, Michelle Anna, was born by Caesarean section two minutes before Mrs. Holmes died.Mrs. Holmes' life ended a short time after she was shot by the robber of a Kearns video store Friday night. She had taken her three daughters and three of their friends to rent a movie while her husband, Michael, was on an outing with the church Boy Scout troop he leads.
Kenneth Hodges, 44, accused of robbing the video store and killing Mrs. Holmes, was arrested the night before the funeral.
Speakers at the service made very few references to the senseless way Mrs. Holmes was killed, preferring rather to juxtapose her life's service with the eternal perspective taught by her church.
"Anna is home safe where there is now peace, and she will be waiting for that glorious day when this family is together again," said Elder David B. Haight of the Council of the Twelve of the LDS Church. He and Elder Paul H. Dunn of the First Quorum of the Seventy attended the service to convey the love and concern felt for the family by other general authorities of the church, including President Ezra Taft Benson, Haight said.
Haight also told the Holmes' three daughters at the service that he can empathize with their loss because he was 9 years old when his father died. "I want these little girls to know that some of the rest of us have had similar experiences."
The love expressed for the family "brings us to an understanding of the love of the Savior," of the Gospel and the love people should always have for one another, Elder Haight said.
" I know Anna Holmes is alive and well, and her greatest concern is not for herself, but for Mike and the little ones," said David A Christensen, the family's LDS stake president.
Former Stake President Robert B. Arnold said it would be a tragedy for anyone to hold feelings of hate and bitterness about Mrs. Holmes' death or the person who killed her. "Nothing would displease her more." Arnold promised the family members peace, joy and happiness if they choose feelings of charity over bitterness.
Arnold said the unity and love expressed to the family at Mrs. Holmes' passing was similar to the example she set for others during her life.
Former neighbor Keith M. Baker said working sometimes bothered Mrs. Holmes because it took her away from her family. But she gave her best as branch manager of Benjamin Franklin Savings and Loan in Kearns and worked hard as secretary/treasurer of the West Valley Chamber of Commerce. "Our community is a much better place today because of Anna's efforts," Baker said.
Bishop Scott Couch, a close family friend and former co-worker with Mrs. Holmes, said she treated other employees and customers as if she had a calling to serve them. But her family was always the top priority, he said.
Mrs. Holmes' 11-year-old daughter, Brandy, spoke briefly at the funeral, reciting a well-known passage from Ecclesiastes, "To every thing there is a season . . . A time to be born, and a time to die . . ." Her father, speaking with considerable emotion following a brief graveside service, offered his thanks to friends and the community for their help and support.