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Deborah Sue Barnes

DOB to 04-15-2023

Deborah Sue Barnes to family and close friends as Deb, was the second child born to Farris and Electra Brown Barnes. Deborah was the scholar in the family. She was an avid reader, accomplished writer, and a dynamic public speaker (though she often hid this with her somewhat shy demeanor).

Deborah attended public schools in Birmingham, Alabama. She was a student at Powderly Elementary School and Ullman High School. She graduated from Knoxville College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and earned a Master’s degree in English Literature from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. Deborah was an honor student at both institutions of higher learning.

Upon completion of her studies at Cornell, Deborah returned to Tennessee and began working at Knoxville College as an English instructor. She worked there for several years diligently striving to enrich the lives of students. Deborah’s career took a different turn when she began working at Martin Marietta Corporation, later known as Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Here her writing capabilities and skills were put to the test. Deborah received commendations for her work, and was featured in a news article for the assistance she provided in preparing a proposal to the US Department of Energy. Deborah retired from ORNL after 32 years of dedicated service.

Deborah had three primary loves:

First, her steadfast love of God, her savior. Her faith and trust in God were immeasurable. It is what sustained her “through many dangers, toils and snares” as she endured chronic and debilitating illnesses, quietly suffering and never complaining, especially to her family.

She grasped several opportunities to serve God at her beloved Mount Zion. However, her passion was working with the children, which she faithfully did through Moments With the Children. Deborah was presented the Servant Award for service rendered as a teacher. Deborah served in this capacity for more than 20 years.

Second, she unselfishly loved her family. She could always be counted on to do what was needed to ensure that others had what they needed. Deborah’s parents instilled in her the importance of kindness. Their way of treating others played a major role in the way Deborah and her siblings treated one another and others.

Third was her love for the Praise Honor and Glory community choir. Deborah was one of its original members. She served as a section leader for the sopranos, a role that she took seriously. Deborah was said to be one of the choir’s most active members, and “she kept everybody where they needed to be”. Singing for the Lord, with this group in particular, brought her great joy. She sang and traveled with the choir until her health no longer permitted.

When Deborah left us last Saturday to be with the Lord, we wept. However, because we know that she no longer weeps and suffers with pain, we find comfort. We will sorely miss our sister; indeed, one of the four sides of the square is not here. We will forever love her, yet God loves her more.

Left to cherish Deborah’s memory are her sisters Eleanor L. Barnes, and Corla B. Tillery (Derrick), her brother, Homer Alfred Barnes; her nieces Edith T. Boggs (Bryan), Jillian T.Baker (Robert), and Valencia L. Tamper; and her great nieces Mikaela Boggs, Avery Boggs and Nouri Baker. Deborah was also loved and will be missed by many cousins and devoted friends, members of the Mount Zion Baptist Church, members of the Praise, Honor and Glory community choir, and special neighbors including Kevin and Polly Matherly.

Family will receive friends Thursday April 20th, 2023 from 12 to 1pm at Mt Zion Baptist Church. With funeral services to follow. Reverend Dr. Johnnie William Skinner, Sr. officiating. Interment will be at Elmwood Cemetery in Birmingham, Alabama. Final arrangements by Jarnigan and Son Mortuary


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