James Russell “J.R.” Barnes, Sr. was born June 16, 1936 in Whitmire, South Carolina to the late Russell and Sarah Rutherford Barnes. He was the oldest of five children. J.R. departed this life on May 5, 2018 at the Hinkle Hospice Center of Davidson County.
J.R. was educated in the Newberry School System. He enlisted in the United States Army and served in Okinawa, Japan during the Korean War. Following his tour of duty, J.R. returned to Whitmire and graduated from Gallman High School. After graduation, he worked for Gray Concrete and J.P. Stevens Inc. After working for J. P. Stevens for 23 years, J.R. joined Swing Transportation Inc. He later retired from Estes Trucking Company in 2006.
J.R. loved being a truck driver and formed several bonds of brotherhood during his time on the road. He enjoyed participating in the North Carolina State Truck Rodeos and was named Driver of the Month in March 1986. He was very proud of his safe driving record. Along with his love for trucking, J.R. adored motorcycles and was part of the Soul Cycle Club in Thomasville. He served as the Club’s president and often hosted club meetings in his home.
On August 9, 1958, J.R. married Donnie Ethel “Donna” Reed and with this union they were blessed with five children. In addition, to their children, J. R. and Donna raised their granddaughter, Brittany. J.R. was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. He was always concerned with his family’s well being and did everything he could to provide their needs and more. He always had words of advice and encouraged his children and grandchildren to “Give it all you got!” He especially enjoyed spoiling his grandchildren with all kinds of treats, ice cream, impromptu shopping trips to the Dollar Store and generous Christmas gifts.
In addition to his wife, J.R. leaves to cherish his memories one daughter, Angela Gail “Ann” Reed Clark (Ronald) of Whitmire, SC; four sons, Tony Albert Barnes, James Russell “Rusty” Barnes, Jr. (Nichol) both of Thomasville, NC; Kenneth William “Ken” Barnes (Orr) of Fort Mill, SC, and Wesley Jerome “Wes” Barnes (Adrienne) of Raleigh, NC; one brother, Larry Barnes of Prosperity, SC; two sisters, Betty Chick (Sam) of Whitmire, SC and Mary Alice Love of Thomasville, NC; six grandsons, Ronald Clark, Jr. (Tonya), Logan Russell Barnes, Skyler Lee Barnes, Brandon Bogans, Brandon Moss and Elijah Moss; five granddaughters, Brittany Latrice Barnes, Jasmine Olivia Barnes, Kristen Danielle Barnes, Brooke Alexandria Barnes and Erin Victoria Barnes; two great-grandchildren, Katlyn and Daniel Clark; several in-laws and a host of nieces, nephews, extended family members and friends. His brother, Lewis Barnes and a granddaughter, Amy Danielle Clark, preceded him in death.