James W. Barnes

September 13, 1924April 9, 2013

James William (J.W.) Barnes, 88, passes away Tuesday, April 9, 2013, at his home in Austin. He was born in Saratoga, Texas on September 13, 1924, and spent much of his youth exploring the Big Thicket around Saratoga. He attended Baylor University before enlisting in the Army Air Corps During World War II. Following the war, he returned to Baylor where he earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts. While at Baylor, he met and married Nelda Faye Brooks, his wife for over 66 years.

Following graduation from Baylor, Mr. Barnes taught math in Port Arthur, Texas, before moving to El Dorado, Arkansas. In El Dorado, Mr. Barnes was in the grocery business for a while before he returned to teaching in the El Dorado schools. He later moved to Texarkana, Texas, where he taught at Texas High School and worked at the Red River Army Depot. Mr. Barnes also served for 20 years in the Air Force Reserves. He moved to Austin following his retirement in 1989 to be close to his family members.

An accomplished house painter and carpenter, Mr. Barnes regularly did work for people and businesses in the Austin area. He often volunteered his time and talents for projects at local churches. He was an active member of the Baptist church his whole life and served as deacon at the Second Baptist Church in El Dorado and at the First Baptist Church of Austin. He also served as volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop on South Congress.

A pilot in the Army Air Corps, Mr. Barnes was always passionate about flying. He enjoyed travelling, spending time with his family, and caring for the wildlife that surrounded his home.

Mr. Barnes was preceded in death by his mother, the former Lomie Louise Bracken, and his father, Forrest Awalt Barnes; his sister, Mary Louise Eastham of Beaumont, and his brother, Howard Barnes of Lumberton.

He is survived by his wife, Nelda Barnes; two children, Marsha Schwartz of Austin and James Barnes of Round Rock; four grandchildren, Kevin Schwartz and Krista Gronniger of Austin, Alexandra Barnes of Houston, and Andrew Barnes of Conroe; and one great-grandchild, Benjamin Barnes of Conroe.

Friends are cordially invited to a visitation with the family from six o’clock until eight o’clock in the evening, on Thursday, the 11th of April 2013, at Cook-Walden Funeral Home, 6100 North Lamar Boulevard, Austin, Texas.

A funeral service will be conducted at half past two o’clock in the afternoon on Friday, the 12th of April 2013, at First Baptist Church, 901 Trinity, Austin, Texas. A graveside service will be held at one o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday, the 14th of April, in Arlington Cemetery, El Dorado, Arkansas.

In lieu of flowers and customary remembrances, memorials may be sent to First Baptist Church, Memorial Fund, 901 Trinity Street, Austin, Texas 78701 or the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, 1327 S. Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas 78704.

Condolences may be sent to


  • Visitation Thursday, April 11, 2013
  • Funeral Service Friday, April 12, 2013
  • Graveside Service Sunday, April 14, 2013

James W. Barnes

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Col George O Lewis. USAF (Ret)

May 8, 2013

Thank you, JW, for your service to our country.

John Kruse

April 12, 2013

I never met Mr Barnes but worked many years with his son James. I send my sincere condolences to the whole family.

April 12, 2013

Nelda, I read of JWs passing yesterday and am filled with sadness because he is no longer here but joy that, as a faithful Christian, with The Lord. He was one of the sweetest men I have ever known and his accomplishments on earth too abundant for words to adequately measure! Devoted to family, church, country and friends, he was always there to assist others in need. I will always remember his talents in refurbishing my home on Santa Cruz . There early every day and working until late! You bought him his lunch or checked on him with that wonderful smile and his smile was engrained in my memory! Your love and devotion for each other was evident in everything you did! He was the most ambitious man I have ever met! Finish one task and then begin another. The Kliens and I will forever be indebted to him? But most importantly, forever thankful for his friendship and the relationship I was blessed to have with him and you. J.W. was an angel on this earth and will be remembered always. I love you and my prayers are with you and your children. Charlotte

Eric Ramos

April 11, 2013

Krista, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your grandfather. Our deepest sympathies go out to you and your family in this time of sorrow. We are here for you if you need anything. Eric and your CAO family.