You're In Our Hearts Forever
Wesley Eugene "Gene" Barnes of Denison, Texas, peacefully left his earthly vessel to join his Heavenly Father on Friday August 19, 2011 at the age of 82.
Gene was born in the quaint little town of Thackerville, Oklahoma on July 29, 1929 to the late Nettie Strickland and Albert Barnes who taught him "If a job is worth doing, it's worth doing well." He was born the eldest of four siblings who spent their days helping their Mom and Dad tend to the crops and farm animals, and running through the red sands of Oklahoma barefoot.
In 1947 at the age of 18, Gene set sail on the U.S.S. Des Moines for an adventure of a lifetime after joining the United States Navy. His ports of call and tattoos were many, and his seafaring tales were fascinating. From enchanting mermaids to great white whales, his stories will live on with his children for generations to come. After serving our country proudly for four years, and earning several medals, badges and commendations, he gave one last salute goodbye, and left the Navy on his new Harley Davidson, bound for home in Oklahoma.
He was fortunate to land a job with the Petty Geophysical Engineering Company in Ardmore, Oklahoma as a seismologist or "doodlebugger." One day the Petty crew rolled into Denison, Texas, where Gene decided to stop and wet his whistle at Loi-Mac Pharmacy. There behind the soda fountain scooping ice cream was a lovely young lady named Shirley. Gene was smitten, and after many trips to Denison to see Shirley, share ice cream, and western movies at The Star Theater, they soon fell in love. They were married on Halloween night, October 31, 1953.
After traveling from town to town with the Petty crew, and Shirley expecting a baby soon, they decided that it was time to settle down. They moved to Denison where he found employment as a milkman for Oak Farms Dairy. This job led him to another at Piggly Wiggly Grocery in Sherman, Texas, where after a few years, worked his way up to the manager's position. After many years at Piggly Wiggly, he decided to come back to Denison to work at Barrett Drug Store in the seasonal department. He sold everything from lawnmowers to Christmas trees, always with a smile and a "much obliged" to the customer.
Gene enjoyed life, especially when it came to spending time with his cherished family, talking about the Dallas Cowboys, working in his immaculate yard, and fishing on Lake Texoma in his Yellow Jacket boat. He had a life-long love affair with biscuits and gravy, cartoons and westerns in his favorite recliner, and a good cigar. You always knew when Gene was coming by the smell of Old Spice after-shave, and the jingling of coins in his pocket. With his reassuring wink, you always knew life was good.
Gene is survived by his lovely and devoted wife Shirley Jo Webb-Barnes, who after 58 years of marriage knew what he was going to say before he said it ~ His favorite daughter Marsha, and her husband Tom Whiting, the son he always wanted, of Omaha, Nebraska ~ His granddaughter Tosha who put the sparkle in his eye, and her husband Scott Winey, who quickly received his rare stamp of approval ~ His grandson Josh Whiting who was the best fishing buddy he ever had, and his wife Kimberly who he welcomed to the family with open arms.
His great-grandchildren, who always brought a smile to his face and warmed his heart, are Tristan, Halie, Brooklyn, and Brityn Winey of Denison, Iowa, and Macy and Brayden of Omaha, Nebraska. He is survived by his beloved brother and sisters of Texas ~ Marvin Barnes of Fort Worth, Dorothy Pedigo of Crowley, Betty Smith of Fort Worth, sister-in-law Brenda Harbour of Denison, brother-in-laws Aubrey Webb of Brookeland, Lindsey Webb of Denison, and Buford Webb of The Colony. Also surviving are his adored aunt Thelma and uncle Buck of Denison, and several nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, out-laws, and friends… as well as several old and faded shirts that were with him for at least 30 years.
A special thank you to those who made Gene laugh throughout the years, those who were always there for him and Shirley, to his family of dedicated nurses and staff at The Homestead of Denison, to the Trinity United Methodist Church family, to his caring team at American Hospice, to the professional staff at Bratcher Funeral Home, to Donna Smith, an earth-angel, and last but not least, to God, who has given Gene, and all of us, an eternal home.
Well done Gene… and "much obliged."