Obituary for Stanley Charles Barnes (Longtime Member of IBEW #22)
Barnes, Stanley C. age 82 years of Ashland, NE
Long time member of IBEW #22 and John J. Mercer Lodge, #290; Survived by wife Cynthia; sons and daughters-in-law Jeffrey and Susan of Omaha, Alan of Ashland, Richard of Yutan, Patrick and Andrea of Council Bluffs, IA and Rodger of Omaha; 7 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren; sister Jean Moore of Omaha; Gathering with the family Monday 4 to 7 PM at the Elkhorn funeral home; Memorial Service Tuesday 11 AM at Peace Presbyterian Church in Elkhorn; Memorials to the family for later designation. Condolences to www.reichmuthfuneralhomes.com
Reichmuth Funeral Home
21901 W. Maple Rd. 402-289-2222
Life Story for Stanley Charles Barnes (Longtime Member of IBEW #22)
tanley Charles Barnes (or “Dad” as I’ll
call him from this point on) was born in
Omaha on January 29, 1935, to Arol and
Ruth (Miller) Barnes. Arol was an electrician
and Ruth a homemaker and Sunday School
teacher – his parents were instrumental in the
career he chose and the type of life he led.
He joined his brother Earl and would later
be joined by his sister Jean. Dad’s family lived
in the truck-farm area of east Omaha, during the
Great Depression era in America. Families
learned to be self-sustaining as much as they
could in this time, growing their own food,
often making their own clothes, and typically
building or making their own repairs on what they
needed. It was here and then that Dad learned to rely on himself to take
care of his needs and those of his family.
Dad went to the Beechwood Elementary and Sherman Junior High schools
of east Omaha, and then to North High where his mother also attended. He was a
Boy Scout and one of the highlights of his youth was helping with crowd control
during a visit of President Harry S Truman to downtown Omaha. During the parade,
Truman stopped his car and got out to walk in front of Dad’s position on
the street. He was a life-long fan of Truman after that; years later, a photograph
of the scene was found showing both Truman and Dad.
While in high school, Dad worked at the Safeway grocery store in nearby
Florence on North 30th Street. A highly responsible young man, he soon
worked up to the position of assistant produce manager.
Here he had a brush with future greatness – local radio
personality and eventual late-night TV host Johnny
Carson stopped him in the store for an important question.
“He said ‘Hey, boy – where are the potato
chips?’” Dad told us with a big grin years later. We
never got tired of telling the story ourselves.
After graduation in 1953, Dad went to the
University of Nebraska to study electrical engineering,
architecture, and other aspects of the building
arts. He returned to Omaha and became an electrician
like his father with Local 22 of the International
Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in
1955. Like his grandfather Ben Miller, he became
a Mason, joining the John J. Mercer
Lodge #290 in 1957.
In 1956, Dad went to the weekly adult singles mixer at First Presbyterian Church in Omaha. It
was here that he met the lovely young Cynthia
Pond, or “Susie” to her family. There was an immediate
connection and the two were almost inseparable
after that. Before joining the Army Reserves
and going off to Fort Leonard Wood, Dad proposed
and got engaged to Mom in February 1957; after
completing his Signal Corps training at Fort
Gordon, Georgia, the two were married at First
Presbyterian - on November 16, 1957.
The two first took an apartment in the
back of a small corner store at 30th and Stone while
Dad went to work at building a home for the two,
and soon to be three. Buying a lot at 5137 N. 37th
St. in early 1958, Dad would build on their ranchstyle
home on evenings and weekends after working
days as an electrician. Their first son, Jeffrey
Scott, was born on August 29; as Dad continued to
work and to build, Mom took care of their small apartment and new son.
Dad finished the basement of the home in 1959 and the new family moved into
it while he finished the main floor of the ranch home. A second son – Alan Raymond
– was born on October 13 that year. Working alone and when he could, Dad
finished the upstairs in time for their third son – Richard Charles – born on November
In 1963, Grandpa and Grandma
Barnes bought a lakeside lot on
Games Lake near New London, Minnesota,
for themselves and the growing
families of their children. This
became the Barneses’ “home away
from home”; Dad loved visiting the
lake for fishing and recreation and
visited several times a year, often
using it as a starting point to explore
as far north as Winnipeg and Thunder
Bay in Canada.
Omaha was a scene of rioting in
the mid ‘60s. Wanting a safe environment
for his family, but also wanting
a return to the farming life in which he had grown up, Dad decided to buy a farm
and move his family in 1966. He and Mom found an 80-acre farm four-and-a-half
miles south of Yutan, NE which would become their home through today. Havingalready built a house, Dad decided to rebuild
the original farmhouse from the inside out. For
the next ten years, Dad removed walls, shifted
stairwells, added rooms, and re-sided the outside.
Very few men build a home for their families;
Dad actually built TWO homes for his.
The move to the farm was a great move for
the growing family. A fourth son – Patrick Michael
–was born on Father’s Day, June 16,
1968, and a fifth and final – Rodger Lee – was
born on September 27, 1970. Dad added land to
the Barnes farm as well with the purchase of a
40-acre parcel on the section in the Platte River
Dad both farmed and continued fulltime as
an electrician. In addition to planting grain
crops like corn and soybeans, he also raised
alfalfa and once wheat. The farm began with a
1948 Allis-Chalmers G, owned by Grandpa Barnes; Dad later bought a John
Deere 2010 and a Ford Model 9N, but many more tractors in the decades to follow.
Dad LOVED going to farm auctions to make a great buy and we boys loved
going with him – until he started talking. Throughout his life, Dad could meet a
total stranger, strike up a conversation, and keep on talking. We boys grew to realize
with what Mom had to cope.
We started raising hogs on the farm.
Dad continued to invest in and grow his hog
operation until the farm’s barn was entirely devoted
to farrowing pigs from birth to market. An
operation like that gave a lot of unusual experience
to us older boys beyond feeding the hogs
and cleaning their pens – inoculating piglets and
clipping the tusks and castrating the males became
part of the routine. Raising hogs continued
until 1973 when apparently a heat lamp started a
fire in the barn and the entire operation and
building were burned to the ground, killing
eighty pigs. We never returned to raising hogs,
but Dad did raise cattle for years to come while farming. Dad eventually focused on farming for its production.
Dad was a union electrician throughout his life. He began with Miller
Electric, but for a time ran his own electrical contracting business – Barnes
Electric Company. He was a member of Local 22’s examining board and
apprenticeship committee, but it was his long-time work on its pension
board that Dad showed his greatest wisdom and input. He was the driving
force in establishing one of the strongest, most secure, and best funded
pensions among the unions in Omaha; one of its aspects enabled local
members to retire ten months before their scheduled retirement dates. His
years on the pension board built strong, healthy retirements for his union
brothers and their spouses in his lifetime and in decades to come.
It was while taking a walk and finding an inability to pick up something
that led to Dad’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s. The effects came
slowly over the following years but nonetheless aggravating to him and his
family. Dad lost so many of the things he loved to do – work on his tractors,
go to auctions, making fishing trips to Minnesota, and going to see
friends. One of the worst things Parkinson’s does besides taking away
movement is to take away most emotions. One of the saddest things was to
not hear his laughter anymore.
Dad was a quiet, calm, humble man with a great sense of humor with
his family and friends. I can’t imagine him with ANY enemies in his life.
He never sought conflict, and didn’t drink, smoke, swear, or harbor any
hatred in his heart. Besides his devoted wife, he leaves behind five sons
and their families with seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
We all miss him greatly. - Jeff Barnes