James Barnett Obituary

Service Information

 
In Memory of

James Eldridge Barnett

September 2, 1918 - April 27, 2014
Obituary

James Eldridge Barnett, 95, of San Antonio, TX, joined his loving wife Mary, and our Heavenly Father on April 27, 2014, surrounded by loving family members. He was born on September 2, 1918 near Sutton in Braxton County, West Virginia to Patrick and Cleopatra Barnett. He was the 3rd youngest child of 10, 1 of 6 boys and had 4 sisters. He attended school in West Virginia and worked the family farm until leaving to travel to Texas at the age of 16. He worked as a cowboy on the King Ranch and other various jobs and eventually began working as a Plumber. On Sep 4, 1940 he enlisted in the United States Army, in Houston, Tx at the age of 22 to...
James Eldridge Barnett, 95, of San Antonio, TX, joined his loving wife Mary, and our Heavenly Father on April 27, 2014, surrounded by loving family members. He was born on September 2, 1918 near Sutton in Braxton County, West Virginia to Patrick and Cleopatra Barnett. He was the 3rd youngest child of 10, 1 of 6 boys and had 4 sisters.
He attended school in West Virginia and worked the family farm until leaving to travel to Texas at the age of 16. He worked as a cowboy on the King Ranch and other various jobs and eventually began working as a Plumber. On Sep 4, 1940 he enlisted in the United States Army, in Houston, Tx at the age of 22 to fight in World War II. He spent the first 3 years of his enlistment stateside as a drill instructor. In 1942 he met and married his wife of 67 years, Mary Jessica Barnett.
In Jul 1944 he was deployed to Europe, with his last DI class, with the 165th Engineer Construction Battalion, as a combat engineer, and participated in campaigns in France, Germany and Central Europe during World War II. He led a platoon in the US Army Corps of Engineers and would later say that they were "combat engineers" because they carried weapons and shot back. He was with Patton's 3rd Army when they invaded Germany. His platoon was on the front lines laying in pontoon bridges and blowing up mines to clear the way for the army coming behind them.
He participated in the Ardennes Counteroffensive, known as the "Battle of the Bulge" in Northern France from Dec of 1944 to Jan of 1945. He received the American Defense Service Medal, EAME Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart for wounds received during combat. After 1 year and 3 months in theater, he left Europe on June 24, 1945, returned to San Antonio, Texas and was honorably discharged on October 21, 1945.
He owned a small grocery store for a while and also worked as a milkman and plumber. He also worked as a civil servant at Kelly Air Force Base for a short period of time but left that job because he could not stand the politics and bureaucracy, and what used to be called "Gold Bricking". Later in life he lived in Tyler, TX for several years before returning to San Antonio.
He was known for his sense of humor, his infectious laugh, love of Wild Turkey bourbon and was an extraordinary storyteller and jokester. He also loved singing to his children and grandchildren while holding them in his lap. He had a particular favorite song to sing, "Roly Poly" by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. He worked hard, believed in high quality work and often had a volatile temper. He was also well known for his extraordinary barbecue (he was approached about starting a new franchise using his recipe) and his famous chocolate fudge which he always made in prodigious amounts during the Christmas season.
Both he and his wife were devout Christians and attended church regularly. He was a loved member of a predominately Mexican American Catholic Church and was counted on to prepare the barbecue meal at the yearly church festival. The priest would often drop off a chicken or two so that he could cook it up for their nightly dinner.
He was one of those quintessential Americans that helped build and defend this country... that worked hard, was essentially honest, wanted nothing given to him, but wanted no one to cheat him either, he could fix almost anything with a screwdriver, a hammer, and a wrench. He did not always come off as a broad minded, accepting fellow at first, but he often gave money to homeless people and he helped others in need on a regular basis.
He is survived by his sister Mary Lazenby of Clarksburg, West Virginia, his two sons, Kenneth James of Summerville, West Virginia and Thomas Barnett of North Beach, Maryland and his daughter Janie Means of San Antonio, TX. He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Jessica Barnett and brothers and sisters.

Arrangements under the direction of Sunset North Funeral Home, San Antonio, TX.

Share your memories or express your condolences by signing the Guest Book below or click here for entry suggestions.

"I only know Mr. Barnett's son, Tom, who describes his father as a man who was loved by everyone that knew him. A lovely way to be remembered. Mr. Barnett..." Roxana Whitt (Huntingtown, MD)

Submit Guest Book Entry
This Guest Book has 10 entries. View Complete Guest Book

Personalize Your Tribute

Share photos, videos and more with Legacy Memorial Websites. Find out more.

 
Start Planning Today

Make Your Plan Today

Preplanning your funeral or cemetery arrangements gives you and your loved ones peace of mind. Don't wait. Make your plan online today.
Plan Online Now