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John "JB" Barnes

August 28, 1947 ~ September 13, 2018 (age 71)

John Howard Barnes 71transitioned on September 13, 2018, surrounded by family in Benton Harbor, MI, his legacy farewell service will be held on September 22, 2018 at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church 1105 E Main street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 with visitation starting at 12:00 noon followed by service at 1:00 pm.

John Howard Barnes was born to the union of the late Rev. Frank V. Barnes of Forrest City, Arkansas, Julia Ophelia Barnes of Chicago, Illinois. John was born at Mercy Memorial Hospital in Benton Harbor MI. He was affectionately known as “JB”. He had other nicknames like Bwana (means master in Africa) as well as “Big John Barnes”.

John professed his hope in Christ at an early age. John attended Benton Harbor Area Schools his entire life. He began his athletic journey at Bard Middle School as an “Eagle”.  John was a member of the track & field team and basketball team at Bard. John accomplished a lot as a committed student-athlete, his Middle school basketball team went undefeated from1958-61. His passion for sports continued as John entered Benton Harbor High School as “A Mighty Tiger”. John was a 1965 Graduate and proud Varsity member of the 1963-65 undefeated Back-to-Back “Class A” State Championship team.

John continued his educational journey at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale MI, where he earned a basketball scholarship. John Barnes still holds several records at Hillsdale College. He was a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.-Iota Chapter out of Chicago, IL. John also served this Country with the United States Army, from 1973-75, John was honorably discharged. As a Veteran John decided to return to college at Tennessee State University where he met and married his wife, Shirley Ann Kelly-Barnes. John worked as a Chemist at Ford Motor Company, Nashville, TN for 18 years.

John was a proud father of five!  Brian Cole (Deceased), Quacy Barnes-Timmons of Pine Mountain, GA), Joi Whaley (Deceased), Frank Barnes of Nashville, TN and Robert Whaley of Benton Harbor, MI. John was a good father because he always imparted wisdom on his kids and stood by them through thick & thin. John truly earned the title of being called “Dad”. His children loved him and many of them followed in his footsteps as student-athletes.

John’s love for his grandchildren was absolutely beautiful. John was very proud of his title as Pa-Pa. He enjoyed spending time with all 10 of his grandchildren and 1 great-grandson.  His legacy and passion for life will live on through his children and grandchildren.  

John loved to travel the world before his health failed. John showed a resilient spirit as he battled stage 4 renal disease, kidney failure and many other significant health complications for the past 15 years.

 John will be dearly missed by his surviving family members: Brother- Pat Jones, Sister- Phrankque Walls of Benton Harbor, MI, Daughter- Quacy (Desmond) Timmons Pine Mountain, GA, Sons- Frank Barnes of Nashville, TN, Robert Whaley of Benton Harbor, MI Grandchildren- Trenell D Bell, Jordan Gillespie, Delrecco Gillespie, Brian Gillespie, Denim Whaley, Taryn Timmons, Taylor Timmons, Robert Whaley Jr., Kamari Whaley and a Great Grandson-Dominic Bell. A host of nieces, nephews, cousins and special friends: LC Bowens, John Rudley & Calvin Wheeler.

John was Proceeded in Death by Paternal Grand Parents-John & Henrietta Barnes, Maternal Grandparents-Rev Richard & Laura Bishop, Parents, Rev. Frank & Julia Barnes. His lovely wife Shirley Ann Barnes, Son-Brian E. Cole Daughter-Joi Whaley, Grand-daughter -Kenya Valentine & special friends: Alex McNutt and Marvin James.



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