Inside the council chamber Coun Holmes was known for his deep voice, allegiance to Labour and for his sense of humour.
But outside the political world he was a man who was respected by those from all parties for his love of Horbury and his dedication to helping improve the lives of people living in the town.
As the town hall flag was lowered as mark of respect, the leader of Wakefield Council, Coun Peter Box led tributes .
He said: “This is such sad and terrible news. Brian was a much-respected friend and colleague who was doing an excellent job both as Mayor and also representing the people of Horbury and South Ossett.
“Like everyone else, my thoughts go out to Janet and his family and friends at this time.”
His sentiments were echoed by the council’s chief executive, Joanne Roney.
She said: “This is devastating news for Janet, his family, and all Brian’s friends in the council. He was a much-liked and respected colleague and we all send our deepest condolences to Janet and her family.
“The district has lost a dedicated public servant who served the area, and the causes he supported, with great enthusiasm and success.”
Coun Geoff Walsh, leader of the Conservative party in Wakefield, said: “Both personally and on behalf of my group colleagues, I would like to put on record our sadness to hear of Brian’s death. Our sympathies go to his wife Janet and his family at this sad time.
“He was a great person and did us proud, both as an ambassador of Wakefield and in the performance of his civic duties. He will be sadly missed.”
Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said: “I am shocked and deeply saddened at the news that Wakefield’s Mayor Brian Holmes has died. Brian was an outstanding Mayor, councillor and friend, and I, and many others will miss him deeply. My thoughts are with Janet, their son Darren and grandchildren at this sad time.”
Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Thomas Murray, said: “During his time as Mayor, Brian represented Wakefield with great dignity and pride, and on behalf of the city of Leeds, I would like to send our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.”
Norman Hazell, who was Mayor of Wakefield in 2000, said: “Brian was a lovely man, a big strong lad and a good sportsman. He was a tremendous man who worked hard for Wakefield.”
A book of condolence has been opened at Wakefield Cathedral for people to sign.