His father purchased a grocery store that he named Barnes Grocery in 1954 and Barnes worked as a partner in the business until his father retired in 1965. In 1988, the business became known as Bill and Sons, and has become a landmark in Carbon Hill.
Until last year, Barnes still worked about 60 hours a week in the store he spent his life building. He last left Bill and Sons on Jan. 20, his health prohibiting him from returning again. But, Sunday night, as the hearse carried his body from his residence, they circled and paused in the parking lot of the store that he spent 58 years building.
Barnes was concerned about his community as he made his final arrangements, requesting that, regardless of what day he died, he be buried on a Sunday so that people wouldn’t have to take a day off work for his funeral.
Barnes is survived by his wife, Patricia Ann Humphries, his high school sweetheart who he married in 1954. He is also survived by their four children, Marlene Barnes Marion and her husband Gray of Charleston, W. Va., William Alan Barnes and his wife Catherine of Marietta, Ga., Richard Jefferson Barnes and his wife Pamela of Carbon Hill and Christopher Lee Barnes and his wife Melissa of Tuscaloosa; their grandchildren, Brandon Richard Barnes, Nancy Barnes Vickery and her husband Jarrod, Sara Katherine Barnes and Lindy Nicole Barnes; one great-grandchild, Hannah Brooke Vickery; one brother, Henry Lewis Barnes and his wife, Jeanette, and beloved friend, Butch Piester. He is preceded in death by his father and mother, E. J. “Pete” Barnes and Sarah Peterson Barnes.
Despite being raised in Jasper, Barnes adopted Carbon Hill as his home. The 1963 Walker County Man of the Year was an avid supporter of Carbon Hill High School athletics. In 1961, a full-page feature in the Hilltop Echoes stated, “In Appreciation to Mr. Billy Barnes for the many hours he has given to the sports program of Carbon Hill High School.” This type of honor has been given to fewer than five individuals in the past 60 years. For 25 years, Bill filmed every high school football game for team education with the exception of one game. He also served as a charter member of Carbon Hill’s National Guard Unit. For more than 50 years, he was an active member of First United Methodist Church.
He served his community in numerous official capacities including being a member of the Carbon Hill Industrial Development Board, Carbon Hill Library Board, Carbon Hill Housing Authority Board, Neighborhood Commissioner of the Boy Scouts, and vice president of the Carbon Hill Chamber of Commerce. An ardent member of the Lions Club since 1950, Bill served as district governor of Lions International, district advisor of the Alabama Sight Conservation and held virtually every office in the Carbon Hill Lions Club. Bill was instrumental in the Carbon Hill Lions Club forming Alabama’s first Leo Club at Carbon Hill High School.
Professionally, Bill served on the Board of Directors of Associated Grocers of the South for 25 years and retired as Chairman of the Board. In 1998 the Alabama Grocers Association named him Alabama Retailer of the Year.
The funeral service will be conducted by Dr. Todd Henderson and held at Kilgore Green Funeral Home in Jasper on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, at 3 p.m. Visitation will begin two hours before the service with burial at Walker Memory Gardens in Jasper. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial doantions be made to Carbon Hill First United Methodist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 578, Carbon Hill, Alabama 35549, or American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 22718, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73123-1718, or New Beacon, Inc., 302 Blackwell Dairy Road, Jasper, AL 35504