One Family’s Passion for Music Steeped in Military Tradition

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“I’m really excited to be walking for Perley Health at this year’s Ottawa Race Weekend,” says Tracy Holmes, Annual Giving Officer at the Perley Health Foundation. “My family has a history of military service, and I will be walking in honour of my Mom and Dad.”

Tracy is referring to her late father, Fred and mother, Marlene who both served in the military as musicians. Fred, born in 1915, found himself drawn into the tumult of World War II, serving as a Warrant Officer connected to the Signals Band and 1st Division Infantry Band. Following the war, he was active with several other bands, including the Queen’s Own Rifles of Toronto, and the Lincoln & Welland Regiment of St. Catharines. It was there that he met his wife and fellow musician, Marlene. 

Fred and Marlene fell in love, married, and moved to Windsor, Ontario where they raised their two children, Tracy and Austin. Marlene fostered her passion for music by becoming an elementary school instrumental music teacher. She also went on to join the Windsor District Militia Band and eventually achieved the rank of Captain, becoming the band’s first female Director of Music. Fred and Marlene were both members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 399 Belle River, and later Branch 290 of Tobermory.

After a long life steeped in military tradition and music, Fred passed away in his 93rd year. Marlene currently resides in the Bruce Peninsula just outside of Lion’s Head, Ontario. Their shared passion for music was a cornerstone of their marriage, alongside their dedication to serving their country. Their daughter Tracy, also a retired military reserve musician, is inspired by the family’s musical service, and is participating in the Ottawa Race Weekend's Perley Health walk in their honour.

Help support Tracy in her run by donating today and helping Team Perley Health go the distance for Seniors and Veterans! Your support helps residents receive excellent care, comfort, safety and services that ensure their highest quality of life. 

Donate to Tracy's Run Here!