Francis "Gary" Holmberg


Francis “Gary” Holmberg, 77, passed away Sunday morning, March 29, 2020 at Carroll County Hospital in Westminster, MD. He had been previously battling dementia but ultimately passed away due to pneumonia caused by COVID-19. He was to be a temporary resident at the Pleasant View nursing home in Mt. Airy, MD for rehab and transferred to a forever home afterwards. 

He was the fourth child out of six siblings born to Regis & Ethel Holmberg of southeast Washington, DC. He is survived by his two children, Tracy Shavell of Frederick, MD and son Robert Holmberg of Mechanicsville, MD. He was the proud Pop Pop of Alyssa & Ava Holmberg and Reece & Addie Shavell. He is also survived by his 3 siblings, Carl Holmberg of Mechanicsville, MD, James Holmberg of Shenandoah Junction, WV, and Phyllis Chappelear of Longs, SC. He is predeceased by his siblings Patricia Devaney and Arleen Crickey.

After graduating from Anacostia HS, Gary joined the DC National Guard. He was appointed on January 16, 1966 to Truck 10 and retired on October 10, 1988 from Engine 15 as a Captain for the Washington DC fire department. During his time as a firefighter, he helped to save many lives, like rescuing a baby from a burning building; assisting with the delivery of a baby on the side of the road; and protect others during the 1968 Washington, DC riots. He was a hero in many ways!!

During retirement, he always found the time to help others including volunteering for the American Red Cross during Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Harvey in Texas, and other natural disasters when he could.

He had a strong bond with many of his fellow firefighter brothers and it showed when they gathered for reunions near and far. We were told by many that he was well respected, a mentor to many and a friend to all. 

Family was important to Gary. He was a loving, caring, and supportive father from start to finish. His grandchildren loved how jovial and playful he was, and he enjoyed their giggles when he got down on their level to wrestle and play with them as little kids. Our family reunions were a yearly highlight for all of us and Gary would always make sure to bring a big pot to cook fresh corn on the cob for everyone to enjoy. He also absolutely adored his chiweenie dog Charlie, he was Charlie’s person and Charlie his buddy! Dad also loved the Redskins through thick and thin (he even sold tickets at the games), playing golf, softball, tending to his garden and lawn, and carpentry work. 

It’s so hard to lose a parent but we take peace in knowing he’s not suffering and can rest now in his house overseeing his garden and sipping his iced tea and eating a bushel of crabs. Love you so much Daddy!

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his memory to your local fire company.

A memorial service for Gary will be held at a later date, after the COVID pandemic allows us to all gather again. Contact Tracy Shavell to be notified of the date.

A website has been created to share some memories of our father

To send flowers to Francis' family, please visit our floral store.


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