Dr. John B. Barnes
1924 - 2013
John was born on February 14, 1924 in Texarkana, Texas, grew up in the south, left there at high school graduation due to health reasons and seldom returned. He received a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Denver and his Doctorate from the University of Wyoming in 1955. He married Shirley B. Payne of Colorado and they were inseparable for 62 years before his Beloved Shirley died on January 10, 2010.
His career in Higher Education Started at Arizona State College as a middle administrator when he aided President Grady Gammage in a successful state-wide referendum to change the name to Arizona State University and served five years as Director of Research and Services. During those years he published two college textbooks and numerous articles in professional journals.
He was 38 years old when chosen to become the Founding President of Arizona Western College in Yuma, the first community college in Arizona in 30 years. While there he became a summer visiting lecturer at the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State. Faculty were chosen and 16 buildings constructed.
In 1967 at age of 43 he became the President of Boise College in transition to Boise State and Boise State University with the help of then Governor Cecil Andrus. In those tumultuous years of change, he survived rapid student growth and saw many buildings rise from "Broadway to Capitol Boulevard.
During those years the Greek system was started, KAID (now Channel 4) television began under the very capable Jack Schlafly, Master's Degrees in Education and Business began, the year in Spain at Onate in the Basque land was started under Dr. Pat Beiter, Dyke Nalley became the first Alumni Director at BSU, Dr. Bill Mech led the first Honor's Program, under Professor Tom Trusky several nationally recognized writing projects make history, Barnes was invited to tour Israel, many new majors were approved to better serve the growing student body, academic scholarship programs were expanded by generous donors among other events in his short time at the helm. He largely credits Dr. Richard Bullington, his Executive Vice President for his accomplishments. He built a great time of leaders and a student oriented faculty.
The State Board of Trustees asked for his resignation after 10 years and he sadly gave it. Promptly he became the Professor Higher Education at Northern Arizona University, but several years later his vision and hearing diminished, he retired, returned to Boise, had a cornea transplant by Dr. Roy Ellsworth, wore two hearing aids, struggled as he aged, increasingly lonely in a crowd without his vivacious wife. He escaped "the hemlock of senility" but the sword of separation from Shirley saw the end of his life on Wednesday, June 5, 2013.
He is survived by his daughters, Brandee Lynn Meissner and Rebecca Kay Wallace; grandchildren, Robin Brown, and Scott Meissner Jr.; his sister, Mollie Belle Cooke of Iowa, Louisiana.
Special thanks to all the staff at Valley View Retirement Center for caring and loving our Dad.
Dad: I have cherished these last 3 ½ years since Mom passed, spending time and reminiscing. I love you so much. Brandee
Per his wishes, there will be no services.
To share memories with the family please visit John's memorial webpage at www.cloverdalefuneralhome.com.
Published in Idaho Statesman on June 9, 2013