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March 21, 2008

Committee member Bob Simpson passed this story on to me.

“Precious Memories of Hollis Eugene Barnes”
Hollis Eugene Barnes was born on June 28, 1941 in McComb, Mississippi to Edward and Mosea Lee Barnes, who have gone on before him. He was the eldest son of their seven children who include Dorothy Hill (who also passed away in 1999), Norma Webb and Ora Troxler of Sacramento, Adilah (“Lovey”) Barnes of North Hollywood and Ellis and Edward Barnes of Oroville. He is survived by his former wife, LaVerne, and younger son, William, of Sacramento. His older son, Eugene, passed in 1984 as a teen. He has five grandchildren – Hollis, Travon, Imani, Makhi and Pearl. Hollis was raised in Oroville, California. He graduated from Oroville High School where he excelled academically and in sports. He received his Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Chico in Social Welfare and continued his education at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where he received his Master’s Degree in Social Welfare.

He served as a Lieutenant in the United States Army during the Vietnam War. In addition to combat duties there, he delivered a Vietnamese baby in the field. His military career accomplishments also included establishing a family community outreach center at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which remains today. As a civilian for the military, he achieved the rank of GM 14 (the equivalent of a one-star general). Some of his civilian duties included Director of Plans and community Activities (DPCA) in Korea, operation of Army Community Center in Wildfleken, Germany, DPCA at Fort Myers, Virginia, and psychologist in New Ulm, Germany. After retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel, he moved to Klamath Falls, Oregon, and decided to go back to school to pursue his dream of practicing law. He graduated with a Jurist Doctor degree in 2000 at 59 years of age from the University of Oregon. Representing the disenfranchised, he practiced law in Klamath Falls up until the time of his death.

Hollis was the eldest male grandchild to Flowers and Lillian Osby, whose 12 children created a very large extended family. Hollis was a role model and inspiration for the entire Osby family in many ways. Following his Aunt Eleanor, he was the next to attend college and the first in the family to graduate from college. He was also the first attorney in the family. Respected by many, Hollis was known for many admirable qualities, including his strong conviction for his beliefs, his sense of fairness and integrity, his trailblazing spirit, and his deep love for family. He will also be remembered for his sense of humor, warm smile, dependability, and listening ear. Hollis enjoyed traveling, fishing, and listening to music. In addition to traveling the world, he traveled widely just to attend concerts and chili and barbeque cook-outs. He enjoyed the Klamath Falls’ Institute of Technology basketball team, football games and serving on committees in his Klamath Falls community. He also enjoyed traveling in his recreational vehicle. He will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched, including his close and dear friend, Ruth Ann Martin and her son, Anthony, his many nieces’, nephews, aunts and cousins. (Hollis passed away on August 11, 2005.)

Stu’s Notes: Reading this story of Hollis Barnes makes me say WOW! What a legacy of accomplishments he achieved in his way to short life, and the fact that he was an African American, during at period in American history when many doors were closed. I am the same age as Hollis and can testify to that. All of Oroville can be extremely proud of what he did.

I was honored to have worked with Carmen Biano and David Nielsen these last 6 years. Carmen gave me free rein as a writer (who? Me? A writer?) Without her faith in me hundreds of veteran stories would not have been told or retold. David was always willing to scan my pictures when needed. I have thousands of stories to tell of Oroville and Butte County Heroes, I hope I live long enough and am given the opportunity to tell them. As I write young servicemen and women from our country are making new stories as they serve and will continue to serve our county for years into the future. Heroes they are. We will continue with James Crow’s story next week.