James E. Barnes, 87, passed away at his home south of Auburn on
Tuesday, September 28, 2021. He was born on April 16, 1934, in Black
Creek, North Carolina, the fifth of ten children.
Nicknamed “Hambone” by his great-uncle, he grew up working in the
cotton fields, harvesting tobacco, and plowing fields behind mules. In
1952, Jim joined the United States Air Force, which brought him to
Kansas while serving with the 815 th Air Police Squadron at Forbes Field
during the Korean War. He served for four years and during that time
met his future wife.
On September 9, 1956, Jim and Shirley Bernritter were married in
Havensville, Kansas. They have lived in the Auburn area for over 50
years, where he farmed, enjoyed raising emu, quail, and pheasant, was
a volunteer firefighter, served on the Shawnee and Osage County
Water Boards, the Auburn Township zoning board, and the Auburn
Community Center Association board.
Jim retired from Fleming Foods in 1996. In retirement, he was self-
employed selling Golden Fox Buildings. Under the “Weebilt” moniker,
he created various metal and wood crafts and tools. He was a true jack-
of-all-trades who could design and create anything to which he put his
mind. He enjoyed involving his grandchildren in his projects, telling
them any challenge was “no hill for a climber.”
As a youth, Jim helped construct the Frank Price Presbyterian Church in
Black Creek, North Carolina. He later transferred his membership to the
Auburn Presbyterian Church.
Jim is survived by his wife of 65 years, Shirley (Bernritter) Barnes, 3
children: Sheryl Harrington (Rich), Lonnie Barnes (Michelle Castle),
Ronald Barnes; 13 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren; 4 siblings:
Joseph Barnes (Annette), Ray Barnes, Bobby Barnes (Becky), Edna
Proctor (Lennis); brother-in-law, David Thorne; sister-in-law, Betty
Bernritter; and a host of nieces and nephews.
Preceding him were his parents, Alonza and Mary Olivia (Batts) Barnes;
siblings: William Barnes, Billy Barnes, Helen Barnes, Mildred May,
Dorothy Thorne, Katye Godwin; parents-in-law, John and Lillian
Bernritter; and brother-in-law, Jack Bernritter.
Services will be held on Sunday, October 3, 2021 at the Auburn
Community Center. Family visitation will be at 2:00 and celebration of
life at 3:00, followed by graveside military honors. Memorial
contributions may be made to the Auburn Community Center
Association (ACCA) at 121 W. 11 th Street, Auburn, KS 66402.