Leonard J. Barnes
Leonard J. Barnes was born into the pioneer Barnes and Yuhas families of the Helena Valley. He was born on October 19, 1919 in Helena, the son of Bernard Huber and Helen Yuhas Barnes. He was raised in the Lyon’s Creek area of Wolf Creek Canyon where he attended the Wolf Creek School. In 1925, his father purchased a ranch on Silver Creek (now owned by the Wirth Family). He attended the Mitchell School near Silver Creek (now owned by Sieben Ranch Company). He attended two years of high school at Craig, then helped his father on the ranch.
Leonard began a truck farm business, selling produce, eggs and chickens to Helena customers. He continued this until 1939 when he began working at Ft. Harrison.
Enlisting in the Navy on October 1, 1940, he gained his nickname of “Barney,” by which he was known for the rest of his life. Barney attended Hospital Corps School in San Diego and Field Service School, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force at Camp Elliott, Calif. He transferred to Mobile Hospital #2 at Pearl Harbor in the fall of 1941, where he became a Pearl Harbor survivor on December 7. After Pearl, he was sent to serve in New Zealand until he returned to the States to serve at Oak Knoll Hospital in Oakland, Calif. He was discharged on March 22, 1945.
On a blind date, he met a pretty red-headed student nurse in January 1941, and on July 7, 1941 he was married to her, Catherine Ellen Stinebaugh. They were married for 59 years before her death in 2000.
After the war, Barney made use of the new G.I. Bill and attended the University of Montana in Missoula, receiving his degree in Pharmacy. He did an internship in Miles City, then returned to MSU for his Master’s Degree, graduating in 1952.
The following years found the family moving to Oregon for several years. Their greatest adventure was working for the Eli Lilly Company and moving to Anchorage, Alaska Territory in 1957. They were always proud to have been in Alaska when it became a State in 1959.
in 1963, they left Alaska and moved to Washington State for a short time before retirement in 1964. They spent several years traveling as full-time RVrs. Finally, in 1974, they stopped traveling and settled down in Helena. But camping, fishing and hunting were still their most favorite activities.
Barney passed away on May 19, 2017 at the Deer Lodge Medical Center. He was 97 years old and lived in Garrison during the summer and Mesa, Ariz. during the winter.
Barney was preceded in death by his wife, his parents, a brother, Clifford and his sister, Clara Smith. He is survived by his son, Leonard J. (Jim) Barnes (JoAnne) of Garrison; his daughter, Karen (John) Hartling of Monument, Colo.; two grandsons, Sean (Pam) Hartling of Monument, Colo., and Patrick Hartling of Palmer Lake, Colo.; his brother-in-law, Otto Smith of Helena; his special companion and caregiver, Chris Read of Garrison and Mesa; six great-grandchildren and two nephews.
Cremation has occurred and a memorial service will be held at a later date at the Veteran’s Cemetery at Ft. Harrison in Helena.
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