Waxahachie, Texas – July 28, 2016 – Alumnus and Former Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) Dean of Students, Dr. James Lee Barnes, passed at the age of 88 on July 26, 2016, after a long battle with cancer.
Dr. Barnes was Born in the community of Sleigh in Ellis County on Sept. 8, 1927, to Lee Barnes and Daphen Steele Barnes, the family moved to Fort Worth where James studied auto mechanics and graduated from Fort Worth Technical High School in 1945. He later worked for Earnest Allen Chevrolet as a mechanic for three years.
In 1945, Dr. Barnes was drafted into the United States Army. After discharge, he returned to Fort Worth and began working for First National Bank of Fort Worth and enrolled at Texas Christian University (TCU).
After attending First Assembly of God Church, Dr. Barnes became eager to study the Bible causing him to transfer to Southwestern Bible Institute (later renamed SAGU) and earned a bachelor's degree.
At SAGU, Dr. Barnes met his future wife of 65 years, Winnie Allen, and married on Aug. 11, 1951. They then entered full-time ministry and pastored multiple churches and pioneered a church in North Richland Hills in 1957 where he pastored until 1974.
During his pastorate Dr. Barnes became keenly aware of the needs of people, deciding to emphasize the area of counseling in his education to help the people around him. He earned a bachelor's degree in psychology and history and a master's in counseling and psychology from the University of North Texas. Dr. Barnes was a Licensed Professional Counselor with the State of Texas and engaged in counseling until the very last years of his life.
In August of 1974, Barnes accepted the position of Dean of Students at SAGU and served until his retirement in 1993. During this time, Dr. Barnes completed his Doctorate of College Administration degree.
Dr. Barnes impacted many lives during his time at SAGU. He viewed his role to be, "To do the best job I know how to do," to understand the students' needs as they relate to SAGU, to serve the students and maintain policy."
After his retirement in 1993, he remained as an adjunct professor teaching classes in Psychology, Pastoral Counseling, Church History and Pentecostal Doctrine and Theology until 2003.
In 2004, an endowed scholarship honoring Dr. James and Winnie Barnes' 27 years of service was established to award one on-campus student, who is either a Sophomore, Junior or Senior studying either Business or Education with above average academic achievement. Preference is given those who demonstrate financial need, and to those who are student teaching. Student teachers held a special place in the Barnes’ heart.
In 2002, under the presidency of Dr. Kermit Bridges, The Student Center building was inaugurated as the "James L. Barnes Student Center." This building is the location where many students come together to study, hold meetings and services, as well as engage in fellowship with one another.
Dr. Barnes made an impact in the community around him. He held religious services at the Cedars Hospital in DeSoto, Texas, for many years. Dr. Barnes served as chaplain for the Texas State Guard and retired with the rank of Lt. Colonel and served as the director for the aviation program for the North Texas District.
He was preceded in death by his mother, father and infant sister. Barnes is survived by his loving wife Winnie; his son Danny and daughter-in-law, Anita of Waxahachie; his daughter, Faith O'Brien and son-in-law, Curry O'Brien of Houston; six grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and a host of friends, former students and former parishioners.
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to the Building Fund at University Assembly of God Church or the James and Winnie Scholarship at Southwestern Assemblies of God University. Click here if you wish to make a gift to the endowment.
Visitation is Friday, July 29, 2016, at University Church in Waxahachie, Texas. The funeral will be held Saturday, July 30, 2016, at 9:00 AM at the same location. Address: 221 Solon Rd, Waxahachie, TX 75165.