James Erle Barnes

March 2, 1930 ~ March 5, 2020 (age 90)


James Erle Barnes

Born March 2, 1930 Chattanooga, Tennessee. 

Died March 5, 2020, Columbus, Ohio

His father was Frank L. Barnes, President of The Ohio Sate Life Insurance Company of Columbus, Ohio and his mother was Stella Margaret (Teddy) Barnes, faithful attendee at all JEB’s baseball games.

His favorite statement was “I love my life”. And he did have a great life and he enjoyed it to the fullest. His favorite person in the world was Janice Ellen, loved wife and best friend. It was never “Jan or Jim”, it was always “Jan and Jim”.

They lived in “The Old Slaughterhouse” on Macon Alley, in the heart of German Village, where their dinners and parties were well remembered for many reasons. The “All Hallow’s Eve” celebrations were, by definition, outrageous.

He saw some of himself in his offspring. Jennifer James graduated University of San Diego Law School and was bar counsel in the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. Joel Campbell has a doctorate in Natural Resource Management and teaches at Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona. Jonathan Shepherd graduated Harvard Graduate School of Design and practiced in Chicago and Milan, Italy before settling in Columbus with his own architecture and design studio.

His Prescott grandchildren are Dylan and Maya and in Columbus are Max and Ava. They were always so special to him and he introduced them to “unbirthday” presents.

He insisted that co-inhabitants of the Old Slaghterhouse be mentioned, the first was “Archie” (of Macon Alley, a yellow lab who loved his blanket and cigarettes), Rocky (Shamrock Acres Roc), a chocolate lab who insisted upon being a lap dog, “Pretty Kitty” (“Queen of Macon Alley”), a Tonkinese who was both beautiful and loving, “Lucy” (“wye-not-lucy”) a loveable Cavalier King Charles spaniel who was smarter than most people and “Powder Puff”, a pale-eyed deaf rescue feline who stole our hearts, “JJ”, our loving Cavalier and now Marley, who was by his side to the end.

Some of his favorite movies were “Blazing Saddles”, “Last Year at Marienbad”, “Catch 22”,  “Captains Courageous” (Spencer Tracy and Freddie Bartholomew) and “Young Frankenstein”.

His favorite music included Frank’s “Symphony in D Minor”, “Tuxedo Junction”, Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “I’m Beginning to See the Light”, Tchaikovsky’s “Winter Dreams” and “Opus One”.

On stage he much enjoyed Sarte’s “No Exit”, Mamet’s “Oleana”, Wilson’s “Fences” and Becket’s “Waiting for Godot”. His favorite poets were E.E. Cummings, Paul Bly, Ted Kooser, Billy Collins, Hank Chinaski and Pogo:

“Upsy-daisy, Hepzibah

Ipso facto where are you all

Like an owl unto the blue

I sing to you, to-who you do?

And Buckminster Fuller as his favorite secular humanist.

Directed at his death, “no services, no calling hours”. More specific directions to follow later. But for now, contributions to his memory should go to whatever you believe would help make this world a better place.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James Erle Barnes, please visit our floral store.


No services to be held

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