Chester and Curtis Holmes
F. Chester Holmes received a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Arkansas A&M College (now the University of Arkansas at Monticello). At A&M, Chester met his wife, Clara Campbell, who earned a BA in History. Chester and Clara Holmes were first generation college students. They moved to Baton Rouge, where they studied at LSU toward masters degrees in their respective fields. Chester’s advisor was Dr Edward Amis, who left LSU a few years later to spend the majority of his academic career at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Chester’s thesis was titled, “Dielectric and Solvent Effects Upon the Rate of Sucrose Inversion by Hydrochloric Acid.” Upon graduation from LSU in 1941, Chester was hired by Ethyl Corporation (now Albemarle) in Baton Rouge and spent his entire career there. He retired as "Chief Chemist" in the 1970s. He passed away in 1998 at age 92. Clara died in 2013, at age 101.
Curtis F. Holmes was born in Baton Rouge and lived within earshot of the LSU chimes, near Lee High School. He attended Southdowns Elementary, Glasgow Junior High, and Baton Rouge High. Like many kids in Baton Rouge, he continued this natural progression to become a student at LSU. Of his time at LSU, he says he received an excellent education from outstanding professors. To this day, Curt is an accomplished organist; during his student days he played at the University Methodist Church. He graduated in 1965. He was a graduate student at Indiana University, receiving his PhD in Chemical Physics. His specialization was irreversible thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. His mentor was Robert Mortimer and his dissertation was titled, “Evolution of the One-Body Reduced Distribution Function.” Curt met his wife, Carolyn, while a graduate student at IU.
Military Service: Following graduation in 1969, Dr Holmes served in the US Army, as a First Lieutenant at the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland, developing detection methods for agents of warfare. He served about a year as a Captain in Vietnam, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. On returning to the US in 1971, he came home to LSU, were he was a postdoc with Professor Jim Wharton.
Greatbatch Inc.: Dr Holmes joined Wilson Greatbatch Ltd in 1976. In 1980 he was named Vice President, Technology, and has held the positions of Vice President of Technology and Senior Vice President. His responsibilities included process and product quality, regulatory affairs, reliability, intellectual property, and research and development.
In 1999, Dr Holmes was named President of a firm in Columbia, MD, that was acquired by Greatbatch. The company produced feedthroughs, coated electrode tips, and other components for implantable biomedical devices and batteries. The subsidiary subsequently relocated to Mexico. In 2001, Dr Holmes became Group Vice President, Components, with responsibilities for divisions of the company in Clarence, NY, Carson City, NV, and Columbia, MD.
In 2004. he returned to Western New York to become the company’s Chief Technology Officer. Dr Holmes retired from full employment at Greatbatch in 2006, but continues to serve as a consultant to the company on technical and educational activities. He has authored more than 55 technical papers, 6 book chapters and holds 3 US patents.
Engagement in Professional Societies: Over the years, Dr Holmes has been actively involved in the Electrochemical Society, serving various positions of responsibility, including Chairman of the Battery Division. He served on the Cardiac Rhythm Management Committee of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. In 1996 he was elected a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the Electrochemical Society.
Summary: During his career with Greatbatch (now known as Integer Holding Company), Dr Holmes had responsibilities around the country and around the globe. He has been a leader in the research and development of advanced batteries, for example improving the efficiency and reliability of lithium-iodine pacemaker batteries. On April 20th, 2018, Dr Holmes returned to his alma mater to deliver a seminar titled, “Lithium Batteries for Implantable Biomedical Devices – Chemistry & Applications.” The presentation was a wonderful blend of history, chemistry and real world medical applications.
Profile contributed by Carol M. Taylor