David Cranford Barnes, Jr. was born on May 13, 1939, in Lenoir, North Carolina to Lillian Wilson Barnes and David Cranford Barnes, Sr.

He died on April 6, 2019, in Boone, NC.

David was a lifelong resident of Lenoir, and his family has deep roots in the farms of Alexander County and the Blue Ridge Mountains of Watauga County. He graduated from Lenoir High School (class of 57), home of the Bearcats, and recently attended his 60th high school reunion. David loved his high school days. He was awarded the most popular senior superlative (alongside Frankie Noll). David played football, baseball, and ran track for the Bearcats. His mother worked at Belk Department store in the womens clothing department, and his father was a barber. David had fond memories living with them and his older sister, Betty, on Abernathy Street and Sharon Avenue in Lenoir. He spent much of his childhood with his grandparents (the Watts and Barnes families) in Alexander County. He remembered grabbing hot biscuits from the kitchen table, stuffing them in his pockets, and running outside to spend the day exploring. Growing up close to his relatives made David a strong believer in the importance of bringing his family together.

David attended college at NC State University for 2 years, learned a few lessons the hard way, then volunteered for military service in the Army in 1962. He was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he earned commendations for sharpshooting (rifle) and good conduct. He performed various roles including time as a special orders clerk and was honorably discharged in 1964 and served in the Army Reserves until 1968. He remained devoted to his veteran peers who fought in Vietnam and often called out the bravery and heroism of his high school pals and servicemen George Petree and Walter Judson Jud Spainhour. After his military service, David enrolled in his beloved East Carolina University (he called it ECTC from its previous name: East Carolina Teachers College) where he majored in history. He was also on the schools inaugural soccer team. He graduated in 1966 and was a proud alumnus--his wardrobe is filled with purple and gold.

David worked as a substitute teacher and in different furniture companies over the years, finally founding his own business--West Lenoir Cushion Company--which supplied surrounding furniture companies with custom packing materials. David was proud of owning a local business and for creating jobs--including employing the visually impaired to fold corner pads used in shipping different types of furniture. When the furniture industry began to decline, David reluctantly closed the business and worked in human resources with various Caldwell County furniture companies.

His life was centered around family, nature, and golf. His father, D.C. Barnes, Sr., played at Lenoir Golf Club where the D.C. Barnes Invitational tournament was founded in his name. Davids friends could find him at a tee box or in the golf clubs back room spending time with his golfing buddies and telling endless stories. He also loved the mountains where he explored the winding back roads and spent time with his sister, Betty Bower, and her family in Sugar Grove--surrounded by their Labrador Retrievers and Yorkshire Terriers, sprawling greenhouses, and a stocked trout pond. He loved his family and showed up at all their piano and dance recitals, weddings, reunions, games/sporting events, art shows, graduations, and funerals. He was always ready with a word of advice (Keep your options open) or a philosophical belief (Your freedom ends where my nose begins).

David was preceded in death by his first wife, Joyce Rainwater Barnes, and his second wife, Brenda Wilson Barnes. He is survived by his daughter Kelly Barnes Rightsell and husband Brian Rightsell, daughter Laura Barnes Hamlyn and husband Greg Hamlyn, and stepsons Mitchell Todd Wilson and Scott Wilson and wife Cindy Wilson, and grandchildren Owen, Ben, and Kathleen Rightsell, and Eric, Brittney, and Lauren Wilson. His beloved sister, Betty Bower of Boone, NC, preceded him in death, and he was loved and cared for by her children, Davids nieces Virginia Bower, Marguerite Moltz and husband Ray Moltz, the late Betty Lee Bower and Kathy Bower, and nephews David Bower, John Bower and wife Laura Bower. David was also a best friend and father figure to Earl Smith of Lenoir and his children, and the Smith and Barnes families have been working with and supporting each other for decades.
Davids family would like to thank the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge staff for caring for him for the last 2 years (and for the constant encouragement and we love David comments whenever we visited). Thanks to Dr. Charles Ford and his team at Blue Ridge ENT. And to the skilled staff at Medihome Health and Hospice in Boone. Thanks to the nurses at Watauga Hospital who treated him like family. Thanks to his friend Skip Chester and many others who supported David and his daughters Kelly and Laura when they needed local help.
The family is planning a gathering in Lenoir to celebrate David in late May/early June. He loved Wilson Creek and the surrounding foothills, so donations in his name to the Foothills Conservancy of NC (foothillsconservancy.org) are welcome.

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