Mr. Barnes was born to the late Marian Venard and Clifford Ethel Barnes on Aug. 6, 1929, in Albany. He attended school in Tift County and, following his adventurous spirit, headed to Miami, Fla., where he landscaped for many of the well-known hotels. While he enjoyed his time in Miami, his life’s journey led him back to Tifton, where his passion and talents for baseball awarded him the opportunity to play catcher for a semipro team. He worked nights at the local cotton mill for extra money so he could continue to play for his baseball team during the day. During this time, he met and courted the love of his life, Joyce, and soon married her before anyone else could, on Nov. 24, 1951.
Mr. Barnes’ entrepreneurial desires led him to purchase and manage a gas station for many years, before eventually pursuing a career with National Life Insurance Company. This successful career path moved his family to numerous cities, including Albany, Savannah, Mobile, Ala., and Macon, eventually settling in Gray in 1967.
Throughout his many years in Gray, Mr. Barnes became involved in church and numerous organizations where he cultivated many lifelong friendships. As a faithful and active member of First Baptist Church of Gray since 1967, he served as a deacon and was a member of the Young at Heart and the Arthur Jordan Sunday School Class. He was a devoted member of Sincerity Masonic Lodge #430 for 31 years and held many seats, including the honor of worshipful master and, according to him, the official “best oyster stew chef.” He was also a member of the Macon Scottish Rite Bodies and the Al Sihah Temple in Macon. He thoroughly enjoyed his dutiful service to all of these organizations. He was also employed with Bridges Funeral Home for 19 years, as a bailiff at the Jones County Courthouse, and as a jailer for the Jones County Sheriff’s Office.
Many of his greatest pleasures in life were being with his family and friends, coaching and cheering on his children and grandchildren in sports, watching the Braves, playing golf, and many fishing memories.
Survivors to treasure his memories are his children and their spouses, Rhonda Barnes Fulford and John Taylor of Gray, Michael Keith Barnes and Jamie Morgan Barnes of Cumming, Edward Stephen Barnes and Tondra Greene Barnes of Gray, and daughter-in-law, Connie Womack Barnes of Gray; his eight grandchildren and their spouses, Thad Fulford, Jamie Fulford and Nelson Arada, Keith and Michelle Barnes, Bryce and Angella Barnes, Morgan Barnes and Terrel Hood, Joseph Barnes, McKenzie Barnes and Dawson Barnes; nine great-grandchildren; sister, Elaine Barnes Lindsey of Tennile; brother-in-law, William “Buddy” Singletary of Centerville; sisters-in-law, Opal Smith and Irene Watson, both of Tifton; and many other cherished and loving nieces, nephews, cousins and lifelong friends.
Flowers will be appreciated or the family requests donations be made to The Homebound Fund of First Baptist Church of Gray, P.O. Box 429, Gray, GA 31032 or to the Masonic Children’s Home, P.O. Box 4183, Macon, GA 31208.
The family received friends at the home of Joe Barnes in Gray.
Bridges Funeral Home and Crematory in Gray had charge of arrangements. Please visit the online memorial at www.bridgesfh.com.