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Richard Earl Barnes

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Richard Earl "Dick" Barnes, 84, of Great Falls, died of natural causes Monday, Feb. 11, at a local healthcare facility.

Funeral services are 1 p.m. Monday at First Presbyterian Church, 1315 Central Avenue. Burial with military honors is 11 a.m. Tuesday at Montana State Veterans Cemetery, Fort Harrison, Helena. Croxford Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

Dick was born June 6, 1928, in Keene, N.H., to Carlos Eugene and May Laurel (Larro) Barnes. He had one older brother, Carl E. Barnes Jr. Dick graduated from Keene High School ('46) and the University of New Hampshire ('51), where he excelled in sports and scholastic activities. Singing and sports were Dick's lifetime hobbies.

In the summer of 1951, Dick met his love and future wife, Kay Scott, at the University of New Hampshire summer school. He enlisted in the Air Force in the fall, and they were married in 1953 in Burgettstown, Pa., after Dick earned his wings as a fighter pilot. Dick's passion was flight: he flew F-86, F-89, F-102 and many other fighter planes. Dick often remarked that every airplane that he ever flew is "on a stick" in Great Falls. His favorite was the F-86 Sabre.

Kay and Dick had two children, Richard Scott and Lisa Claire, and the family traveled the country and many places abroad for the next 23 years. During these years, special memories were also built on summer vacations with the family at Deep Creek Lake, Md.

Dick loved to travel, and this was a gift he provided his family. Together they lived in Germany and traveled throughout Europe and into East Asia. They lived in many stateside locations and enjoyed seeing the great United States together. Dick was given the Air Force Commendation Medal Award for Meritorious Service in 1966 during his service at Sioux City Air Base in Iowa. He worked underground for NORAD in North Bay, Ontario, part of the North American Shield. Here he learned to enjoy life in the "bush," snowmobiling and blending with the northern Canada culture.

When stationed in Great Falls in 1962, Dick and Kay knew they had found home. The family returned permanently to Great Falls in 1974, followed by Dick's retirement from the Air Force in 1975.

Dick worked for Metropolitan, selling insurance for the next 15 years and getting to know many folks in the Great Falls area. He was active in the First Presbyterian Church of Great Falls and sang in the choir for many years. He also served as an Elder, having great faith in the mission of the church.

After his retirement, Dick and Kay continued to travel and have adventures. Dick's favorite destination was the Panama Canal in 2010. Dick had longed to see the Panama Canal since he was a boy. They also enjoyed visits to his home area of New England.

Year-round celebrations and quiet times at the family cabin at Big Sky Lake with his children, grandchildren, and Labradors Princess and Mandy were when life was at its best. Dick loved wood cutting adventures, water activities and boating, bird and wildlife watching and simply relaxing with the family at the lake.

He is survived by his beloved wife, Kay; children Scott (Dawn) Barnes of Helena and Lisa Barnes of Missoula; and grandsons Zachary Hampson of Baltimore and Izaak and Eli Hampson of Missoula.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Carl and May Barnes; and brother Carl Barnes Jr.

Memorials are suggested to the Paralyzed Veterans of America Donation Center, 7 Mill Brook Rd., Wilton, NH 03086 or to the Great Falls Rescue Mission, 317 2nd Ave. S., Great Falls MT 59404.

Condolences may be posted online at www.croxfordfuneralhome.com and/or www.gftribune.com/obituaries.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Feb. 15, 2013
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