McMillan Funeral Home

702 West College Street, Booneville, MS


Billy Joe Barnes

December 29, 1943January 2, 2020
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Billy Joe Barnes, 76, died Thursday, January 2, 2020, at the Sanctuary Hospice House in Tupelo, MS. He was born December 29, 1943 to J.B. and Era Barnes. He was a lifelong farmer. He enjoyed hunting, running beagles, and fishing.

A Celebration of Life will be at 2:00 P.M. Saturday, January 4, 2020 at McMillan Funeral Home with Minister Tony Brown and Bro. Ray Bennett officiating. Burial will be at Sumner’s Chapel Cemetery.

He is survived by his two sons, Mark (Beth) Barnes and Jeff (Tamri) Barnes; four grandchildren, Christopher (fiancée, Chasity Nichols) Barnes, Brianna (C.J.) Jackson, Brice Barnes, and Avery Barnes; two great-grandchildren, Collins Jackson, and Everly Jackson; one niece, Donna (Ronnie) McKay; and two nephews, Larry (Michele) Jackson and Michael (Jennifer) Jackson.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Merle Dean Barnes; his parents; and one sister, Virginia Oouida Jackson; and one niece, Pam Brown.

Pallbearers are John Harris, James Stennett, Jamie Chaffin, Michael Ramey, Ronald Burns, and J.M. Barnes.

Visitation will be from 11:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M. Saturday at the funeral home.

Condolences may be left at www.mcmillanfuneralhome.com.


  • Mark Barnes (Beth), Son
  • Jeff Barnes (Tamri), Son
  • Christopher Barnes (Fiancee`, Chasity Nichols), Grandchild
  • Brianna Jackson (C.J.), Grandchild
  • Brice Barnes, Grandchild
  • Avery Barnes, Grandchild
  • Collins Jackson, Great Grandchild
  • Everly Jackson, Great Grandchild
  • Donna McKay (Ronnie), Niece
  • Larry Jackson (Michele), Nephew
  • Michael Jackson (Jennifer), Nephew
  • Merle Dean Barnes, Wife (deceased)
  • J.B. Barnes, Father (deceased)
  • Era Barnes, Mother (deceased)
  • Virginia Oouida Jackson, Sister (deceased)
  • Pam Brown, Niece (deceased)

  • John Harris
  • James Stennett
  • Jamie Chaffin
  • Michael Ramey
  • Ronald Burns
  • J.M. Barnes


  • Visitation Saturday, January 4, 2020
  • A Celebration of Life Saturday, January 4, 2020


Billy Joe Barnes

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      When someone is identified as a natural leader, certain images come to mind. First thoughts are of a no-nonsense, tough-minded, dedicated and disciplined person. This description accurately fits Billy Joe Barnes who was indeed a born manager. He will be remembered as being highly organized, practical and realistic. He was a person who always carried a strong sense of duty with him throughout his life. Possessed with traditional “old school” morals, Billy was an individual who clearly communicated to those around him just who he was and what he was all about. Everyone acquainted with Billy knew him as a well-respected man who was a stable force in his community.

      Billy was born on December 29, 1943, at home in Mairetta, Mississippi. His parents were JB and Era Barnes. Billy was raised in Marietta, Mississippi. Even as a youngster, Billy learned to be objective and decisive. His faith in the principles of authority and dependability was something that he carried with him throughout his life.

      As a young boy, Billy was able to put his natural abilities to work. He was a bit like the sergeant of the family, helping to make sure that the others did what they should do and that they avoided those things they weren’t supposed to. In other words, he liked to organize and direct. Billy was raised with one sister, Virginia Oouida. Billy had an inborn appreciation for the order in the family, allowing for the oldest members to be the most respected and to take on the most responsibility. For Billy, this was a natural order of life, one he gladly embraced.

      Billy's matter-of-fact attitude about most things was developed during his childhood. As a boy, he was a member 4-H. In his spare time he liked fishing and hunting. Billy's memorable achievements included his chapionship at 4-H competition.

      In school, Billy was as close to being a model student as one could possibly imagine. He sought to achieve perfect attendance in all of his classes. He would eagerly complete his homework, and often put in extra study time when he felt it was necessary. A logical and focused thinker, Billy was always good at following directions and meeting his schedules, whether they were set by his teachers or were self-imposed. Billy’s personal motto could well have been, “Do it right the first time.” He graduated from Marietta High School in 1962. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. His favorite class in high school was math. The teacher he enjoyed learning from the most was Mrs. Gann.

      Billy was sociable and approachable. Because he was always so straightforward in how he approached relationships, friends and family knew that what they saw was always what they got. He enjoyed the camaraderie of being with a group of friends. When Billy was a member of a group, his interaction worked to keep the others grounded. He wasn’t afraid to confront his friends and, when necessary, he challenged them to stick to the task at hand. Those close to Billy came to expect his high standards of performance. While growing up, some of his best friends were Paul Jackson, John Sherman and Bobby Taylor.

      An objective and conscientious individual, Billy reveled in the security of his family. One of Billy’s most endearing qualities was his uncanny ability to remember important dates and anniversaries, and his unending enthusiasm for organizing a celebration for his family and friends.

He married Merle Dean Turman, December 7, 1963, in Marietta, Mississippi. They were married for 52 years before her passing in 2015.

      Billy was ever watchful of his children. He worried about them and was deeply concerned for their development as they grew up. He maintained a firm hand in their upbringing. Billy would give his stamp of approval to their requests, as long as he could see how they might benefit. He also had the ability to enforce the rules as needed to ensure that his children were properly raised. Billy was blessed with two sons, Mark and Jeff. They were also blessed with four grandchildren, Christopher, Brianna, Brice and Avery.

      Being a hard worker who praised efficiency, Billy was always striving to make improvements where they were necessary. He was able to analyze situations and problems, keeping everything and everyone on track. An excellent project supervisor, Billy was a person who could quickly make decisions based on the information available. He worked cooperatively and expected the same from his colleagues. In both his personal and professional environments, Billy upheld his standards. He was a life long farmer and had also worked for the Prentiss County School District. Billy was a team player who certainly lived out the motto of “give me a job, and I will get it done.”

      Billy approached his leisure time in the same manner that he approached his life. A person who enjoyed being neat and orderly and one who understood the nature of things, he appreciated the hours he was able to devote to his hobbies. His favorite pursuits were hunting and fishing. Billy was content to enjoy his favorite pastimes alone, but was also willing to share his interests with others.

      Playing by the rules was a natural thing for Billy to do in life and that carried over to his enjoyment of sports. He also was something of a sports fan and enjoyed watching his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity. Top on his list was basketball.

      Billy was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of Billy’s favorites was a dog named Lou. They were best friends for 12 years. His family was rounded out by his many rabbit dogs.

      When Billy’s retirement finally arrived in 2008, he was well prepared. He used his critical evaluation skills to make sure that every detail had been preplanned and attended to. In retirement, he found new pleasure in hunting. In many ways, Billy loved retirement. It provided him with the opportunity to catch up with his friends, attend functions and group outings, and tackle new interesting activities.

      Billy passed away on January 2, 2020, at Sanctuary Hospice House in Tupelo, Mississippi. He is survived by his two sons, Mark and Jeff; four grandchildren, Christopher, Brianna, Brice and Avery; and two great-grandchildren, Collins Jackson and Everly Jackson. Services were held at McMillan Funeral Home in Booneville, Mississippi. Billy was laid to rest in Sumner's Chapel Cemetery in Marietta, Mississippi.

      All who knew him would agree that Billy was a pillar of the community. He lived his life with his feet firmly on the ground. He had a strong work ethic, was pragmatic in his thoughts and acts, and constantly sought the means for self-improvement. He was willing to share his ideas and knowledge for the benefit of others, so that they could accomplish more in their lives. Billy Joe Barnes did his best to ensure that his family, friends, loved ones, co-workers, and everyone whose life he touched was given the chance to become a better person.