When Beverly Holmes first left her home of Syracuse, New York in 1977, she left behind an extensive family of sisters, in-laws, nieces and nephews.
“I didn’t work when we first came down, and it was awful hard for me,” she remembered.
But next week, after 17 years of dutiful service in Monroe County’s Property Appraiser’s Office, she’ll return home to see the dozens of family members she’s been missing.
“We’re going up for the summer, so the weather should be really nice,” Beverly added, affirming that she and her husband Matt are not leaving the Keys for good.
She hopes that her three children – Netty, (Jeanette, a mother in Key West) Noodle (Nicole, a lawyer in Los Angeles) and Pistol (Matt, Jr., an executive chef) – along with her five grandchildren, will be able to join them in the Keys in November when she and her husband will celebrate 50 years of marriage.
Matt retired from the New York State Police Department and convinced his wife to relocate their young family to the Florida Keys. In New York, Beverly recounted stories of Matt diving the chilly, murky waters of the Hudson River in search of “evidence” during his duties on the force.
“He couldn’t even see his hand in front of his face, so I don’t know how he ever did that. He was part of the scuba team, and he just loved to dive” she explained. “He used to come down to Islamorada all the time to go diving.”
She, however, does not share her husband’s recreational love. Beverly admitted she used to oblige her family’s request to join them on the water each 4th of July holiday, but it seemed the trip was always doomed before they left the dock.
“Something always used to happen,” she remembered, laughing, “Either the motor would break down or there was a thunderstorm. I don’t go out too much anymore.”
Shortly after they relocated to the Keys, Matt and Beverly opened the Middle Keys only bike rental, sales and repair shop and successfully operated their business for more than a decade. Her family enjoyed riding motorcycles across the Upstate New York countryside, and she recalls with great fondness family trips to places like Niagara Falls – “One time we went and it was frozen!” she remembered, adding she still has the slides to prove it – but her husband was never a cycling enthusiast.
“I just looked around, and there wasn’t a bike shop here, so that’s what I decided to do,” explained her loving husband.
Her co-workers in the Property Appraiser’s Office are already planning a fantastic soiree to bid her farewell in the coming days, and though Beverly readily admits she’ll thoroughly enjoy the next chapter in her life as a snowbird, she will miss her co-workers that have greeted her everyday for the past 17 years.
Deputy Appraiser Bob Hubbard attested Holmes is the glue that keeps the office together, adding, “She is a wonderful PR person for the office, a great peace maker and always making sure everyone is happy.”
Deputy Clerk Beth Ann Connell, who sits next to Holmes each day and is one of the first faces to greet customers in the office, said Beverly has been her co-worker, mother, mentor, banker and psychiatrist, “But most importantly, she’s been my friend. Every day at 4:55, she says, ‘At the sound of the tone, the time will be 4:55. Tone!’ I’ve actually recorded her saying that so I can play it for the office after she retires.”
“If I were in it for the money, I would have been gone a long time ago,” Beverly laughed with her signature dry honesty. “I’m really going to miss the job and the wonderful people I get to see every day.”
Beverly Holmes, a loyal employee of the Monroe County Property Appraiser’s Office, will retire from her post at the end of this month after 17 years of service. She and her husband, Matt, both natives of Syracuse, New York, will return to their home state for the summer months before settling in to their new life as seasonal Keys residents.