Kuhler Funeral Home

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William B. Barnes

William Barnes obituary photoWilliam B. Barnes, Sr, age 99, of Huron, died Friday, November 9, 2007 at the Huron Nursing Home.  His memorial service was at 2:00 PM Monday, November 12th at the Kuhler Funeral Home with the Rev. Mark LaFreniere officiating.   Burial was at Loogootee, Indiana.

Bill was an avid sportsman from an early age. He was always hunting, fishing and    tramping about in the woodlands and tidal flats of his native Delaware. This early love of nature led to his career in natural resource preservation. He left  Delaware to study forestry at Mont Alto in Pennsylvania. His first job after graduation from North Carolina State was a state forester in Florida using convict labor for reforestation projects. He moved to take a job as a camp forester in the New Deal’s CCC program near Jasper, Indiana. His next position was with another New Deal program the Resettlement Administration in South Central Indiana. It was here that he met his future wife, Cecilia Rose Doyle.

They were  married in her home town, Loogootee, Indiana in 1938. They began their life together with an exciting road trip visiting National Parks throughout the South West. They suffered numerous break downs and flat tires on the sub-marginal roads long before Interstates. Their first son, Bill Jr, was born “nine months and two minutes after their wedding” as Aunt Doris liked to say. He was followed by John the following year and Phil in 1945.

Bill began his career with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in 1939. He worked for the Fish and Game division for many years which was a perfect match for his outdoor interest. His main role was as federal aid coordinator which allowed him to acquire thousands of acres of land for protection for posterity. For a time he served as director of this division but preferred roles of a less political nature. Bill wrote a large number of articles for the IDNR’s publication, “Outdoor Indiana,” over the years. He was an  outstanding photographer with hundreds of photos accompanying these articles. His  photos even made the cover of several issues. For the last 10 years with the department he was founder and director of the Division of Nature Preserves. This put him back doing  battle with the legislature but he must have learned some new tricks as he was able to    establish a large number of Nature Preserves throughout the state during his tenure with the department. The Nature Conservancy played a big role in helping him with this stewardship.

After his retirement, Bill and Ceil moved to the Florida Keys. He spent many happy years helping to fill his buddy Ken’s boat with fish even after he was legally blind. The two of them caused many a chuckle as they chugged out of the marina  screaming at each other as they were both almost deaf. It was during this time in the Keys that he wrote his book, “Natural Resources and the Great Depression in Martin County and South Central Indiana.” As he was almost blind, he did his research looking at references with his hand lens. It is a testament to his perseverance that this book was published by the Indiana Historical Bureau in 2004. During this period in the Keys, Bill and Ceil took many trips abroad to Africa, Europe and many other fascinating destinations. Due to an auto focus camera he was able to take many excellent photos of these exploits.

Upon the death of his wife, Ceil in 1995, he moved to South Dakota and lived near his son, Bill and his wife, Lucy. He also spent time staying with his son, John and his late wife, Connie in Wisconsin; and his son, Phil and his wife Diane in Hawaii.  He enjoyed frequent visits with his grandchildren, Tonya, Rhonda, Kelly, Chad, and Brooke; and his great-grandchildren, Totiana, Teagan, Emma, Bradley, Randi, Brendan and Corey.

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