James Nathan Barton

November 11, 1953July 5, 2018

James Nathan Barton, of Huttig, formerly of El Dorado, AR, died on Thursday, July 5th, from an aggressive cancer.

Jim’s family will receive visitors at Youngs Funeral Home in El Dorado on Thursday, July 12th, 2018 from 6 until 8 p.m. A private graveside service will be held at a later date.

James was born in Warren, AR, on November 11th, 1953. He was the middle son of Viola and John Barton of Vick, AR, (later of El Dorado, AR). He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant sister, Martha, a grandson, Brandon Deal and a step-daughter, Teresa Dixon McPeak.

He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Cathy Thompson Barton, sons James Allen Barton (Sarah), Nathan Grant Barton and Stephen Glenn Barton, daughter Rae Lynn Barton Deal (Chad), step-children Laura Nicholson and Beau Brown. He is also survived by his brothers Doug Barton and Mark Barton (Janice). Jim’s joy in life was seeing his grandchildren, Garrett and Joshua Deal, Matthew and Miranda Barton and Everleigh Nicholson. He will also be missed by his little dog Becca whom he loved dearly.

Jim was a 1972 graduate of El Dorado High School, and graduated from Lyon College in 1975 (then Arkansas College) with a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics.

He worked as a laboratory technician for Great Lakes Chemical (now Lanxess) for 29 years. Jim was also a prolific writer, especially of poetry. He had published 1 book of his poetry and 4 chapbooks of poetry. Another book was in progress at the time of his death. He was a member and treasurer of the Poets Roundtable of Arkansas, member of the South Arkansas Poets of the Pines and was the former President of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.

Memorials may be made to the Harper Springs Cemetery Fund or to the South Arkansas Poets of the Pines, C/O Dr. Janet Ryan, 131 Womack Rd., El Dorado, AR 71730.

An online guest registry will be available at


  • Visitation Thursday, July 12, 2018

James Nathan Barton

have a memory or condolence to add?

Meredith Cook

August 14, 2018

I would like to express my condolences to Jim's family and friends both as an individual and as Corresponding Secretary of the League of Minnesota Poets. I only now read Strophes and found out about his death. (I'm sorry, this is my busy season as Moccasin Editor.) I have known Jim through NFSPS for many years as a great poet and truly kind person. He was very understanding about that not all poets are up on the latest technological processes and equipment, and I was deeply grateful for his support of old ways as well as new. I am so sorry for your loss, and will miss greatly seeing him and hearing his fine poetry at future NFSPS conventions.

Philip Garner

July 29, 2018

Jim was my partner for awhile at Great Lakes. He was a joy to work with and made me look forward to going to work. It was sad to hear of his illness; he'll be greatly missed.

Catherine L'Herisson

July 25, 2018

Cathy and family, I am so sorry for your loss. Jim was a wonderful man. I felt like I got to know him better at the NFSPS Convention in Indiana when we went on that tour of a diary farm. I don't usually remember jokes, but I do remember one of Jim's. He asked me if I knew what kind of music cows liked, and when I said I didn't, he said that it was Moozart, but that chickens just wanted to hear Bach, Bach, Bach. He had such a great sense of humor, and was down-to-earth, in addition to being a good poet. We talked quite a bit at the last convention in Minnesota, and he agreed to be the keynote speaker at our Poetry Society of Texas Summer Conference in Allen, Texas when I was president. He was a big hit with those who had never had the chance to meet him at one of the NFSPS Conventions. I am so glad he got to preside at the NFSPS Convention in Fort Worth last summer.

I wanted to come to the visitation, but needed to leave early the next morning for our PST Summer Conference in Waco. As NFSPS Librarian, I was taking a few items to the NFSPS Collection at Baylor before the conference started.

I will miss Jim, but I know he was a man of faith, and that I will see him again. I pray that God will comfort you, your family, and his friends, and give you peace during this sad time.

Bill Craig

July 12, 2018

Jim Barton was the original leader of the South Arkansaas writers when they met at Healthworks. He was an award wining poet and good writer of prose.Jim was a good leader & friend an will be missed by those that knew him.

Marilyn Joyner

July 12, 2018

To the family, thank you for sharing Jim with us. He taught us many things about the written word. He was our leader and most especially our cheerleader. For inspiration, he advised, "to look around you, observe the details." May you find comfort in the memories. I am proud to have known Jim and will miss him.

Charmaine Donovan

July 11, 2018

I met Jim through our mutual affiliation with the National Federation of State Societies, Inc.(NFSPS) . I enjoyed Jim’s insights on presenting poetry which offered practical suggestions on reading poetry publicly. His presentations were witty and engaging. He was a friendly, kind and generous person. His commitment to and talent for writing poetry was obvious. I was fortunate to serve on the NFSPS board while Jim was president. He will be missed by his NFSPS family and by those who enjoyed his jovial congeniality. My prayers are with the family as we grieve the loss of a valued member of NFSPS and the poetry world at large.

Dana Washington

July 11, 2018

A few years after I moved to Pennsylvania, Jim won the Pennsylvania Poetry Society's annual poetry contest. Having had the pleasure of reading and hearing many of his poems during my years in south Arkansas, I was delighted that his poems had won him yet another honor--and a larger audience for his keen observations, love of nature, and sense of fun. I reviewed his book for the NPR station affiliated with Penn State, leaving out a part of the story of Jim's career in poetry known to very few.

I first met Jim through the poems he submitted to the very first edition of South Arkansas Community College's literary magazine. As chief editor, it was my job to remove contributors' names so the works could be evaluated fairly. Jim had submitted a number greater than the one the editorial panel had determined would be the publication limit, though he was within the rules for the number submitted. The panel selected every one he sent, and when I said that all of that group were by the same poet and that they had to stick to the rules we'd agreed on, the rules were immediately (and forcefully) revoked...then and in years to come.

We were all looking forward to meeting the poet who'd written those incredible poems and hearing them read in his own voice. Jim called me a few days before the scheduled event and told me he couldn't possibly read because he was too shy. Somehow, after a couple of conversations more, he found the courage, and the comments I heard about both his poems and his beautiful voice after that first performance (and every one I attended thereafter) indicated he'd also found an audience. Through a lot of hard work, a lot of generosity to others, and his always humble attitude, Jim grew an even bigger audience, but he never lost his humility, wonder, and way with words.

I'd like to share that book review and offer my sympathy to all who grieve. May his memory be a blessing.

Jimmy Dews

July 10, 2018

I knew Jim In the late 70s . He always made us laugh at his imatations of cartoons and animal sounds .30 yrs later I recognized him as a professional talented poet, accomplished father and a person I am proud to call my friend. I will miss you bud , I know you are welcomed in Heaven, see you one day!!!

Vallie Griffith True

July 10, 2018

I remember “Jimmy” from Westminster Presbyterian Church in El Dorado. So happy to know he had a very blessed life, yet sad to hear of his passing. My prayers go out to his family for healing and peace.

Don Crowson

July 10, 2018

We have truly been blessed knowing Jim as one of our best poets. He will be missed by the PRA. Had he lived, he would have made Arkansas PRA one of the best poetry organizations in the country.
He was not one a great poet, but also a great friend. .May God bless his family in their time of need.