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.