Keith Holmes, the former managing director of St Ives’ web division, has died aged 73.
Holmes began his career working at a printer in Bermondsey, and in the late 1960s moved to Woodrow Wyatt Web Offset to become production manager.
He joined Chase Web in St Austell as production director in 1982. The business was subsequently acquired by St Ives in 1986 and Holmes became managing director of the group’s nascent web offset division.
“Keith was responsible for overseeing the building of the modern St Ives web offset factories at Plymouth, Roche, Peterborough and Caerphilly,” said Dave Emeny, who took over from Holmes after he retired in 1999.
“He was always very interested in new technology and drove the investment at St Ives of the most up-to-date pre-press, web offset presses, sheetfed presses, perfect binding and other finishing equipment. He was instrumental in creating a business that led the market," he added.
“We became friends in business and remained close friends ever since.”
Nicholson Bass managing director John Charnock, the former St Ives group technical director, also worked alongside Holmes for many years.
He said: “This is very sad news. Keith was a real influence on me and taught me so much. He was such a lovely person.”
Holmes earned the respect of manufacturers and suppliers for his knowledge and business ethos.
“I have fond memories of dealing with Keith in the UK, and of taking him to Japan to see the latest press technology. Sushi wasn’t his thing!,” said Komori Europe director of distributor sales Tony Carter, who previously handled web sales at the manufacturer.
“He was a character who was large in personality, if albeit small in frame, and he was a gentleman to deal with.”
Holmes was diagnosed with motor neurone disease three years ago. He died peacefully at home on 8 November.
He is survived by his wife Margaret and their son, and Margaret’s children and grandchildren.
The funeral will take place on Tuesday 5 December at 11.00am, at St Paul’s church in Charlestown, Cornwall. Industry friends and colleagues are welcome to attend.