The broadcasting industry and its listeners lost a friend with the passing of Dave Holmes on September 4, 2020. Dave died peacefully in his sleep. He began his radio career in 1974 doing character voices for KGBS in Los Angeles before landing his first full time on-air position in 1980. Known affectionately as “Mr. Wonderful” he subsequently graced the air waves of Central California for more than 20 years. He had been with Kat Country 103 (KATM) since its beginnings in 1992 and was known as the guy with a big voice, a big heart, and a big personality according to former KATM Program Director Nikki Thomas. She went on to say of Dave’s passing, “It’s a sad day for all of my KAT Country friends and family … Mr. Wonderful has passed away and I’m pretty sure he took his rim-shot with him. Dave Holmes was the epitome of ‘larger than life. He was my coworker and my friend … and the world is a lot more depressing without him in it.”
Dave retired from KATM in 2016 due to chronic pain. Retirement was a tough decision for Dave because he lived to entertain others. He posted his decision to retire to his Facebook page in November of 2015 saying, “I have thought long and hard about this decision for the past year. I have come to the conclusion that I will be exiting KAT COUNTRY. I suffer from chronic pain, which I have had for over a decade, and it’s gotten to the point where the pain is just too distracting. For the past 23 years, KAT COUNTRY was a giant part of my life. I’ve spent over a third of my life at KAT, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. With that being said, I will leave on top. Whoever takes my place will be very lucky. KAT COUNTRY isn’t just a radio station, it’s a FAMILY.”
Dave continued to live in MANTECA after retiring from KATM doing commercials in his studio. He built a global audience on RETRO RADIO and was active doing charity work for TOYS FOR TOTS and other organizations. Dave told his listeners that he wasn’t going away he’d just be in a different location.
Kenny and Ryan, Dave’s sons describe their dad as, “The guy who was always ready with some kind of quip, whether it be a good or a bad one, to lighten the mood and make people smile. He was always the life of the party. He was born to entertain, from a young boy sticking a speaker in a tree and convincing the neighborhood kids it talked to his final days running his internet radio station, Retro Radio California.”
Kenny and Ryan related in a Facebook post honoring their father that years after his retirement, “He would go to the grocery store and as soon as that booming voice came out, people would ask, aren’t you Mr. Wonderful? He was dedicated to his community. He did so much over the years with the local animal shelters (HE LOVED ANIMALS), Toys for Tots and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital among many other causes and charities.” Kenny and Ryan thank all who helped make their dad the special guy that he was and to honor him they ask that donations be made to the Stanislaus Animal Shelter or Adopt-a-Pet in his name. Dave asked that listeners support these organizations at the end of every one of his shows.
To Dave Holmes life was a party and everyone was invited. His mantra throughout his life was, “Find a career you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”