Frank Harold Barnes, 90, passed away in Fairbanks on March 28, 2013.|
Frank was born in Cashmere, Wash., in 1923, to Fayette Hooker Barnes and Vera Clepper Barnes. He had one brother, Fayette Earl Barnes, who was two years older. When Frank was only 4 years old, his mother died from a goiter.
This left his father with two young boys, so grandmother moved into the large farmhouse where they were very soon joined by a third young boy, their cousin, Wayne Maxwell, who also lost his mother. The three boys grew up together, raised by Harold's father and grandmother.
Harold was always a hard worker, being so industrious that even at the early age of 8 he started a garbage pick-up and delivery service. Using a wheelbarrow, he went door to door with his business, gradually changing up his "fleet" to accommodate business. For 11 years, he built up the business, eventually acquiring a worn out Model T "bug" for garbage pick-up.
Close to his graduation from high school, Harold sold the business he had built up to the city of Cashmere, stating he'd like to go out to see more of the world, and needed to be free to serve Uncle Sam when the time came.
In 1943, he enlisted in the army and served in World War II as a rifleman, both in Normandy then the Battle of the Bulge, where he was injured, honorably discharged and awarded a purple heart after only 25 months of service.
He initially met Dona Mae Steele while he was engaged to her best friend, Lorraine. Dona caught his eye, and he soon married Dona on Aug. 6, 1950. They married in Cashmere then moved to Wenatchee, Wash., where their children were born; Leicha Gail and Harold Kevin. Frank began working as a Fuller Brush Man.
In 1964, they took a vacation to Fairbanks to visit Dona's parents and siblings. A year later, they packed up their belongings and headed north to Alaska. Because it was August and a little too late to install septic and sewer, the family lived in the basement of a duplex where Dona's sister lived at the University. In the spring, a 60-foot mobile home was pulled in next door to Dona's parents, which has served as home for the last 40-plus years.
Frank did sales in Fairbanks, initially selling Fuller Brush, then Harper products and Amway. He always had a smile and ready handshake to greet anyone. When things were slim, as the economy is known to do in Fairbanks, he would hustle up jobs on the side. He worked as a custodian for the Alaska Railroad, and retired as a custodian for the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
Harold had a true servant's heart. Whether in church as a deacon or usher, or just finding someone with a need, he was ready to give a helping hand. A frequent question he asked was "How can I help?"
He served as head usher at First Assembly for more than 30 years. He would volunteer to help whenever opportunity would present itself. He was a caring, soft spoken and committed individual.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Earl Barnes, of Cashmere, Wash.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Dona; children, H. Kevin Barnes and Leicha Welton, both of Fairbanks; and three grandchildren, Zachary and Amanda Welton, and Katelyn Barnes.
A memorial service was held at 4 p.m. Friday, April 5, 2013, at First Assembly of God, 2820 Airport Way.
Arrangements were entrusted to Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home.
Published in Daily News-Miner on Apr. 6, 2013