Serving the community since 1922

Sally Ann Holmes-Tatum (Firkins)

May 19, 1940 – Jan. 19, 2024

Sally Ann Firkins was born on May 19, 1940, in Santa Monica. She spent her childhood years in Downey, before relocating to Shafter in 1946. In Shafter, her father, Charles "Chuck," owned Chuck's Flying A Service Station, while her mother, Celia "Sally," worked at Stringham's Drug Store for 20 years, caring for Sally and her siblings Donald, Betty and Tommy Firkins.

Sally, the eldest sibling, contributed to her family's endeavors from an early age, working in the cotton fields, assisting her father at the service station and supporting her mother at home. During her time at Shafter High, Sally played tennis, was a yell leader, and was crowned Miss Shafter of 1956. Sally was renowned for her kindness, joyful spirit and beauty inside and out.

On June 1, 1957, Sally married her sweetheart, Robert "Bobby" C. Holmes, in Las Vegas. Their union blessed them with two children, Steven Holmes and Teri Holmes. The couple embarked on a journey that took them to various locations, from Shafter to Bakersfield, Concord, Orange County and even Hawaii, in pursuit of building their family legacy. Throughout their 50-year marriage, they shared a deep love, navigated life's challenges and adventures, developed meaningful friendships and appreciated fine wines.

Their greatest joy was the arrival of their four grandchildren, Christopher Swan, Austin Holmes, Erin Swan and Ashley Holmes. Sally's devotion to her family knew no bounds, and she dedicated herself wholeheartedly to their care and support.

Tragedy struck when Bobby lost his battle with cancer on Nov. 6, 2007. Sally remained in their Bakersfield home, where her granddaughter Erin resided during her college years. In 2011, Sally found love once more with Robert "Bob" Tatum, a remarkable man who had also endured the loss of his first wife to cancer after 50 years of marriage. Sally and Bob shared a profound connection born out of mutual respect for their life journeys, and they exchanged vows on July 30 2011.

Together, they relocated to Arroyo Grande in Sunrise Terrace Village, where Bob designed a custom-built home for them. Sally leaned on Bob for support following the tragic loss of her daughter, Teri Swan, in 2014, and his unwavering presence helped restore her faith. Over the course of 10 years, they embraced retirement with fun from RV trips across the states to learning line dancing and golfing (a new sport for Sally) and lively karaoke nights at The Moose in Pismo Beach. Bob's passing on Oct. 3, 2021, marked the end of their beautiful love story, leaving Sally with cherished memories of their time together.

Sally's boundless energy and zest for life endeared her to all who knew her. She prioritized spending time with loved ones, traveling frequently to visit her son, her seven great-grandchildren, family and dear friends. Her final adventure took her to Montreal, Canada, where she spent a beautiful Christmas with her son Steve and his fiancé, Chantal, and her family, along with a special visit by her granddaughter Erin and her family. Upon her return, Sally peacefully passed away at her home in Arroyo Grande on Jan. 19, 2024.

Her love and presence brought warmth and joy to countless lives. More than a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Sally was a beacon of strength, a trusted confidante, and an inspiration to many. Known affectionately as Grams, GG, GG-bling, Mommy Sally, Mustang Sally and Sal, all adored her. Sally's door was always open, her smile infectious and her heart endlessly giving. Her life showed love, kindness and resilience, leaving a lasting mark on all who had the privilege of knowing her.

Though she is no longer with us, Sally's legacy of love and light will continue to shine brightly, offering comfort and inspiration to those who hold her dear.

In honor of Sally's remarkable life, her family and friends will come together to celebrate her legacy in May. As we gather, we will share stories, reminisce and pay tribute to the extraordinary woman whose spirit touched so many lives.

As we mourn the loss of Sally, let us also take comfort in knowing that she will forever watch over us as our guardian angel, showering us with light and love from above. May her memory be a blessing and may we honor her legacy by spreading the same love and kindness that she so generously gave to us all.

Forever in our hearts, Sally will be deeply missed and eternally loved.

–Written by Erin Marquez, granddaughter of Sally


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