Clifton L. “Scrappy” Holmes was born February 17, 1939 in Kilgore, Texas. Scrappy graduated from George Washington University National Law Center, J.D., cum laude, in 1966, and began practicing his life’s work in 1967.Scrappy spent his legal career seeking to right injustices, and to protect those wrongfully injured or accused. He successfully argued against cases facing the death penalty and brought peace to those harmed by outside actors. Among numerous other accolades, Scrappy was director of the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association from 1978 to 1984, president from 1984 to 1985, and named to the TCDLA Hall of Fame in 2007. The State Bar of Texas Criminal Justice Section classified him as an extraordinary criminal defense lawyer in 1992 and 1996. Texas Lawyer named him one of the “Top Five Go-To Lawyers in Texas” in 2002 and 2007. Texas Super Lawyers listed him in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. He was a key actor in the founding of the Criminal Defense Law Project and establishing the annual criminal defense trial lawyers’ course in Huntsville.
Scrappy lived up to his childhood nickname in every aspect of his life. As a young student, he and his wife Edwina scrimped and saved so that he would be able to get through law school while still managing their small family. After Edwina’s untimely passing, Scrappy doubled down to provide for their four children. Even after a severe car accident in the ‘70s - one that would plague him with pain and surgeries for the rest of his natural life - it was evident that nothing could not stop Scrappy Holmes. He battled cancer and personal adversity, but he waged those battles with his usual swagger and humor so that, like most things in Scrappy’s life, it seemed effortless.
In the later years of his life, Scrappy found the most joy spending time with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and, most of all, their dogs. A narrator of the highest caliber, Scrappy still held a room with his narrative the same way that he had done with his closing argument years before. His family will miss the cadence of his voice, his mid-sentence laugh, and the half-smile he cracked right before the best part of the story.
He is reunited in death with his wife Edwina McKellar Holmes, parents Edith and Clyde Holmes, sister Jacqualine and Marion Donald, and grandson Mason Rawls. He is survived by his brother Jimmy and Pat Holmes, children Niki Holmes, Bryan and Vikki Holmes, Lacy and Michael Houck, and Shelly Holmes, grandchildren Shanton and Wendy Rawls. McKellar Karr, Libby and Jacob Sears, and great-grandchildren Makayla, Kodi, Sadie, and Mary Kate Rawls.
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