Holmes was born in Mount Airy, but his family moved to the Washington, D.C., area in 1942. After a standout career in both football and baseball at Western High School, Holmes received a scholarship to play football at Appalachian State. During this time, he also played baseball, most notably for the Mount Airy Graniteers minor league club, whom he played for from his junior year at App. State until four years after his graduation.
He taught at West Yadkin High School and coached football, basketball and baseball from 1954-56. He joined the W.N. Ireland Insurance Agency in 1956 and later became its president and co-owner.
He represented Alexander, Wilkes and Yadkin counties as a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives, and then after redistricting occurred, served the 92nd House District, which includes Yadkin, a portion of Surry and a portion of Iredell counties. He was first elected in 1974, and in 2008, he chose not to run for re-election to a 17th term due to health reasons.
Appalachian State named its George M. Holmes Convention Center in his honor.
Holmes is survived by his wife, Barbara, and their daughter, Jennifer. He had three granddaughters, Amanda Holmes, Jennifer Holmes, and Megan Holmes, as well as nieces, Mary Ellen Goad and Debbie Goad Benge.
George Holmes is also survived by brothers, John William Holmes, Robert Dobie Holmes and James Haughton Holmes; and sister, Ronella Holmes Goad of Mount Airy.
His funeral will be held Sunday at Flat Rock Baptist Church in Yadkinville. A time had not been set as of press time.