Beloved Teacher Remembered

Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 6:16pm

El Paso - Hundreds gathered at Mount Carmel Cemetery in East El Paso, today to say goodbye to a beloved member of the community who was shot to death last week in Juarez. There is much confusion as to the circumstances surrounding James Barnes' death. But, what is not confusing is the integral part Barnes played in the El Paso community for much of his life.

Barnes was remembered Saturday as a beloved father, teacher and mentor whose imprint won't soon be forgotten. Doris Velez calls Barnes her best friend and the ideal role model.

For me he was definitely a role model, and a mentor as I followed in his every footsteps...graduating from Burgess, going off to North Texas, then becoming a speech teacher myself so that maybe one day I could maybe be half the teacher and mentor he was to me. The world has lost an amazing person, but heaven has gained a beautiful red headed angel," says Barnes' colleague.

Barnes' life was cut short in the beginning of August when he was shot to death in front of his car in Juarez.He taught speech classes at Irving High School in Northeast El Paso for more than a decade.

Junie Chavez's friendship with Barnes spanned more than four decades. Chavez tried to talk his friend out of venturing across the border last Friday. Chavez was a pallbearer Saturday morning. He says some of his fondest memories of Barnes are ones they created together in the Burgess High School marching band in the early 1970s.

 We were members of the Burgess High marching band that got a 1 plus rating under the direction of Mr. Bernie Glover and Jim was a big part of that marching band.  We had a lot of fun together. He was a happy go lucky guy wholived life to the fullest and he was a very giving person," recalls Chavez.

According to his family and firends James Barnes lived everyday of his life looking to help others.  "He was destined to touch lives. He drove everybody to their fullest potential and would stop at nothing to get them to see the good in themselves, make you laugh and understand the world as it is through a positive life," says Doris Velez.

Barnes is survived by his five daughters and his 96 year-old mother, Audrey.

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