James C. Barnes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 5, 2004

James Clinton Barnes Jr. entered into eternal life Wednesday, June 2, 2004 at the age of 55. Born on April 18, 1949 in Manila, Philippines, he was the son of James C. Barnes Sr. and Magdelena I. Barnes.

Mr. Barnes, a native of Suffolk, was known as &uot;J.B.&uot; to his dearest friends and family. He was educated in the Suffolk Public School System and earned his undergraduate and master degrees in physics from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He also completed Ph.D coursework in physics at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg.

Mr. Barnes joined NASA in 1983 and remained a loyal and committed employee until his unexpected death. His career with NASA spanned many years in the field of physics and engineering. He headed the Laser Systems Branch and was Program Executive for the Global Tropospheric Wind Programs. Most recently, he served as Assistant Director for Special Technology Projects. Throughout his career, he received numerous achievement awards for his outstanding contributions to various projects, including the NASA Medal for Exceptional Engineering Achievements and the H.J. Reid Award for Most Outstanding Technical paper. He was the lead laser engineer for the first Lidar laser flown in space, and developed the first turntable laser to fly on NASA’s Earth Resource, ER-2 high altitude aircraft. He served on the Undersecretary of Defense’s Advisory Group and with the Optical Society of America’s Advanced Solid-state Laser Committee Studies.

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Mr. Barnes attended St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church in Hampton, and was a member of

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Suffolk. He was a member of several professional and community organizations throughout his life, including steering panels for numerous Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and participated as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation HBCU programs. He was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

He was preceded in death by his father, James C. Barnes Sr.

Left to cherish his loving memory are his devoted mother, Magdelena Barnes of Suffolk; his four daughters, Dawn Barnes-Tyson (husband, Shaun) of Hampton; Che’ Barnes, Lisa Barnes and Brittany Barnes of Newport News; two brothers, Ray Barnes of Texas, and Calito Barnes of Suffolk; five sisters, Patricia Edwards (husband, Jerald) and Vonnie Barnes of Norfolk; Margaret Barnes and Rosa Bowe (husband, Kenneth) of Suffolk; and Theresa Barnes of Texas. He is also survived by his wife, Sandra Renee Tabron Barnes; grandchildren, Donovan Tyson and Leah Tyson; and many other family members and friends.

A celebration of his homegoing will be held at 1 p.m. Monday, June 7, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 213 N. Main St. Interment will follow at Holly Lawn Cemetery.

The family will receive friends in from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 6, in Crocker Funeral Home, 900 E. Washington St. (539-7443). At all other times the family will be at the home of James’ mother at 306 Ben St., and will assemble there for the funeral procession to the church.

Memorial donations may be offered to Saint Mark’s Outreach Program for the Homeless and Less Advantaged, P.O. Box 1582, Suffolk, VA 23439.