Fred ‘Red’ Barnes

June 19, 1928 - Nov. 20, 2019

Fred “Red” Barnes.
Fred “Red” Barnes.

Fred “Red” Barnes passed away on Nov. 20, 2019 at home with his family in Cordova, Alaska. The storm clouds parted for a brief time with a rainbow over Orca Inlet at the time of his passing. He was born on June 19, 1928 in Merced Falls, Calif. He spent most of his childhood on a turkey ranch in Turlock, Calif., where he learned a strong work ethic. After high school, he headed to Seoul, Korea in the Army and then back to Los Angeles to enter Bible College. His love of sports, especially pole vaulting, took him to Fresno State next where he joined the NCAA team and made first in the nation in 1953. He pole-vaulted all over the world. He was fortunate to be coached by Dutch Warmerdam who held the world record for many years. In 1954, he married “the love of his life,” Katherine Winn. He spent the next 30 years teaching fifth grade, coaching track and field, working the summers at the Del Monte Peach Cannery and raising two children. After retiring, he moved to Mariposa, “the gateway community to Yosemite,” and spent the next 25 years running an antique store, upholstering and refinishing furniture, and becoming a postman around Mariposa county. He had many hobbies, including fishing, camping, banjo playing, rock hounding, ice cream making, fixing things, sewing, baking, photography, bolo-making, and teaching square-dancing and weaving to elementary school children.

He and his wife, Kay, moved to Cordova four years ago and he will be remembered for his joke-telling. He was very social and loved to make people laugh! Why does the ocean roar? Well….You would roar to if you had crabs on your bottom!!

He is survived by his wife, Katherine Barnes of Cordova, daughter, Anita Smyke of Cordova, son, Doug Barnes of Clovis, three granddaughters, Jessica, Casey, and Ria of Cordova, two granddaughters, Jamie and Melissa of Clovis, and three great grandchildren.

A celebration of his life is planned for sometime in April. He took many movies of pole-vaulting, Korea, and other parts of his life that will be made into digital films to show at this event. He was so thankful to the community of Cordova for making his last years so full of friends and life.

Letters may be sent to: Kay Barnes at P.O. Box 2022 Cordova, AK 99574