Col. William Barnes

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Col. William L. Barnes (Ret. US Army) passed away peacefully on July 14, 2009 with his family by his side. He was born August 29, 1925 in Ahoskie, NC and was married in Santa Fe, NM to Jo Jennings Barnes. He is survived by his son Michael (Belen, NM), daughter Elizabeth (Vinton, VA), daughter Catherine (Fort Collins, CO), and son Matthew (Cincinnati, OH) He had 4 granddaughters: Sydney, Bailey, Jamie, and Corey. He was preceded in death by brothers Jack and Bailey.
Col. Barnes graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1945, having entered at age 16, after a semester at Clemson College. He earned his master’s in Engineering at Harvard and master’s in Foreign Affairs at George Washington University. He served in the US Army Corps of Engineers for 30 years and completed tours in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He received the Bronze Star and Legion of Merit with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, among many other medals and awards.
Following his retirement from the Army, he launched a successful career in mass transit engineering. Significant projects included the transit tunnel under Seattle, and transit lines in Chicago, Atlanta, and San Francisco. He managed the construction of the Taipei, Taiwan subway, then the largest subway project of its kind.
Bill was a smart, funny man who loved listening to jazz, working crossword puzzles (in ink!), and playing the trumpet. He volunteered for SCORE and tutored English to Korean immigrants.
Late in life, he looked forward to joining his beloved wife, Jo, an artist who succumbed to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 1983. Bill was always proud of his Ahoskie roots and spoke fondly of his Baptist church and of competing with his classmate Rachel for highest honors at school. Bill will be greatly missed.
An informal memorial gathering will be held at 6 PM, July 24, at Allnutt Funeral Services (650 W Drake Road, Fort Collins, CO 80526). Burial with Military Honors will be held at the Santa Fe National Cemetery on August 7 at 10 AM. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Pathways Hospice ( or the ALS Association (
Please visit to view Bill’s online obituary, sign the family guest book and send condolences.