Cover photo for Dr. Grace Elinor (Foege)  Holmes's Obituary
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Dr. Grace Elinor (Foege) Holmes

March 27, 1932 — February 8, 2023

Lenexa, Kansas

Grace Elinor Foege Holmes, MD, passed away on February 8, 2023, at her home in Lenexa, Kansas, at the age of 90.

Grace was born on Easter Sunday, March 27, 1932, to Erika (Ermisch) and Reverend William Foege, in Crookston, Minnesota. Growing up in a Lutheran parsonage, Grace spent most of her childhood in Eldorado, Iowa, the second of six children. With a dimpled smile and carefree demeanor, Gracie, as she was affectionately known by those close to her, recalled later in life that if she could pick the perfect age to be forever, it would be eight years old. Grace completed high school in Chewelah, Washington, and earned a BA degree from Pacific Lutheran University in 1953. Typical of the quiet way she was a pioneer in so many facets of her life, Grace was one of only two women in her medical school class at the University of Washington in Seattle. In 1955, she married her classmate, Frederick Holmes, and they graduated in 1957 with MD degrees.

Together, they completed medical internships at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) in Kansas City, Kansas, and were then called to medical mission work overseas, studying first at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and then serving in the Lutheran Church Clinics in Malaysia from 1959-1963, and at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center in Moshi, Tanzania from 1970-1972. Kansas City (and KUMC) remained their homebase between and after their missions. Within those busy years, they built their unique family of five adopted children (Heidi and Cindy from Malaysia, Lisa from Hong Kong, and Ted and Andrew from Kansas) and one biological child (Julia).

At KUMC, Grace served on both the Pediatric and Preventive Medicine faculties, until her retirement as professor emerita in 2000. Throughout her career, Grace’s clinical, teaching and research interests clearly reflected her pediatric training and experience with the growth and development of infants and children. Much of her work with physically and intellectually disabled children was inspired by her daughter Cindy, throughout whose life Grace was a tireless caregiver.

Grace published 55 papers in scholarly journals, developed the KIDS (Kansas Infant Development Screen) chart, and authored several books. She never slowed down, even in retirement, and was always working on several things at once. For the past decade she pursued research in medicine during WWI, resulting in the book North Dakota Nurses Over There and many public lectures. Until recently, she continued to play the harpsichord and enjoyed singing in the Gentlefolk quartet with Fred, and she always had at least one crocheted blanket underway for a grandchild or great-grandchild. It feels impossible to count the number of people whose lives have been blessed by Grace’s inimitable grace and spirit.

Grace is survived by her husband of 67 years, Frederick Holmes; as well as her children: Heidi (Arthur Morgan) of Holden, Maine; Lisa (Imants Sics) of Clarinda, Iowa; Theodore (Connie) of Shawnee, Kansas; Julia (John McMorrough) of Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Andrew (Claudia) of Lawrence, Kansas. She was blessed with 12 grandchildren (Meredith, Katharine, Joseph and Cody Morgan; Alexander, Theodore, Samantha, Jennifer and Madeline Sics; Quentin Holmes; and Matthew and Walter McMorrough) and six great-grandchildren (Chloe and Lily Sics, Asher Ferrill, and Parker, Bodhi and Acacia Sics). She is also survived by her siblings Mildred Toepel of Eugene, Oregon; William Foege of Atlanta, Georgia; Annette Stixrud of Tacoma, Washington; and Carolyn Hellberg of Touchet, Washington.

Grace is preceded in death by her parents, her brother Richard Foege, and her daughter Cynthia Holmes.

Visitation will be at 10:30 am, Saturday, February 18, 2023 with a service to follow at 11:00 am at Hope Lutheran Church, 6308 Quivira Rd., Shawnee, KS 66216; burial will be in the Resurrection Cemetery.

The family requests that anyone wishing to make a donation might do so in Grace’s name to Operation Breakthrough of Kansas City, whose mission is to help children who are living in poverty develop to their fullest potential.


Operation Breakthrough
PO Box 412482, Kansas City MO 64141
Tel: 1-816-329-5222

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Grace Elinor (Foege) Holmes, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Saturday, February 18, 2023

10:30 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

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Graveside Service

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Central time)

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Resurrection Catholic Cemetery

8300 Quivira Road
Lenexa, KS 66215

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