Jefferson Todd Barnes of Farmington, New York, died Thursday, November 5, 2015, at age 56. He is survived by his wife, Kerdwadee (“La”) Barnes, and stepchildren Manatthawut (“Nook”), Nittayaporn (“Kwang”), and Nutjaraporn (“Kyla”) Saoro. Jefferson was the youngest of seven siblings born of his parents, the late Gerald Sayre and Mary Grace Barnes (nee Benson), formerly of Brocton, NY, where Jefferson grew up. His siblings survive him and include Gerald Sydney Barnes of Fredonia, NY; John Leroy Barnes of Titusville, FL; Betty Joan Barnes of Fredonia, NY; Robert Lewis (Denise) Barnes of Madison, AL; Daniel Willis (Susan) Barnes of Fairport, NY; and Jay Scott (Pamela) Barnes of Wadsworth, IL. He is further survived by deeply loved family and friends too many in number to enumerate here.
Jefferson, aptly, was born on the Fourth of July in Dunkirk, NY; thereafter often being referred to as a “firecracker” baby. The energetic pace and vibrant character of his life activities paid homage to that early nickname. Apart from a brief period of hospitalization at the age of 4 for a bout of rheumatic fever, Jefferson had a healthy and very active childhood, ultimately entailing his participation in competitive sports at various points during high school and college, both sanctioned and intramural, including baseball, softball, football, soccer, volleyball, tennis, golf, and track. He also became a student of physical fitness. His love of those activities persisted into adulthood, where he remained passionate about and continued to pursue running, playing tennis, playing softball, and fitness training in various capacities, such as in being a participant, a coach/instructor, and an umpire/referee. His respect for and pursuit of athletic prowess and fitness continued throughout his life. Only the heart failure borne of his childhood bout with rheumatic fever ever disrupted that pursuit. Ultimately, that heart failure is what took his life. Right to his end, Jefferson longed to, once again, race unhampered across open fields and down quiet streams, insisting to his wife that would be done by him “first thing” when he passed from this world.
Jefferson attended Erie Community College, Alfred Agricultural & Technical Institute, and the State University of New York at Fredonia. His educational activities focused on geology and physics, as well as engineering. He retained a passion for and was an avid reader about each of those subject areas throughout his life, despite focusing his principal career activities in engineering.
His earliest employments were as an engineer for Alumax Extrusions Inc. in Dunkirk, NY, and then Hansford Manufacturing, Inc., in Rochester, NY. His consuming passions for sports and fitness, however, thereafter directed him to seek employment in that field and, for a time, Jefferson took employment as a tennis and fitness instructor at the Gideon Putnam resort in Saratoga Springs, NY. Thereafter he worked for several years in a like capacity for the Village Glen in Buffalo, NY. Ultimately, however, Jefferson’s passion for the field of sports and fitness was brought into harness by practicality and, largely for financial reasons, he moved back into the field of engineering, first doing work as an engineering contractor for GM in Buffalo, NY, before ultimately finding what would become his final employment, as a Director of Quality at TRW Automotive, in Auburn, NY. It was while he worked in Buffalo, NY, that he first met and fell in love with Kerdwadee. They married on June 23, 2004.
Whether involved in recreational or engineering activities, Jefferson took the demands of both very seriously and always worked to improve his skill sets and applicable knowledge. He took parenting responsibilities no less seriously and capably and proudly helped raise his stepdaughters and stepson to be fine young adults, who currently are attending college. The success Jefferson shared in raising them constituted his most prized lifetime achievement.
Throughout his life, Jefferson celebrated his relationship with Christ and always very much appreciated those who visited and/or corresponded with him and shared in his faith. The many supporting prayers made on his behalf throughout his illness were like gold to Jefferson and he felt enriched as a result of them. Jefferson made exhaustive efforts to battle and slow the disease that ravaged his body, but never did he fear its ultimate consequence. He was accepting of the will of the Lord and fully anticipated and welcomed that, upon passing from this world, he would find peace, comfort, and refuge in the arms of the Lord.
Funeral services for Jefferson will take place at 11 am on Tuesday, November 10, 2015, at the Morse Funeral Home, 51 Highland Avenue, Brocton, NY 14716. The Rev Larry Morrison will officiate. Viewing will be on Monday, November 9, 2015, between the hours of 3 pm and 9pm. Following his funeral, Jefferson will be taken to the Portland Cemetary where there will be a very brief graveside service to be followed immediately by his interment. Upon concluding the graveside service and interment, friends and family are invited to retire to a reception to be held at the American Legion, 110 W. Main Street, Brocton, NY 14716 to visit amongst each other, and to reflect upon and celebrate the life of Jefferson Barnes.
The family of Jefferson specially thanks the many doctors, nurses, technicians, and other caregivers and helpers from The Cleveland Clinic and the University of Rochester (at both the Strong Memorial and F.F. Thompson hospital facilities) who worked so diligently and selflessly to do whatever was possible throughout Jefferson’s illness to care for him and to improve his spirit and circumstances. You are truly angels of mercy.
So go and run free
So go and run free with the angels
Dance around the golden clouds
For the lord has chosen you to be with him
And we should feel nothing but proud
Although he has taken you from us
And our pain a lifetime will last
Your memory will never escape us
But make us glad for the time we did have
Your face will always be hidden
Deep inside our hearts
Each precious moment you gave us
Shall never, ever depart
So go and run free with the angels
As they sing so tenderly
And please be sure to tell them
To take good care of you for me
“I told you I could beat you ….”