In Memory

Raymond B. Barnes

Raymond ‘Ray’ B. Barnes

May 12, 1934 to Mar. 2, 2020


Ray Barnes, age 85, of Vale, passed away resting in the arms of our Lord on March 2, 2020. He was surrounded by family members who deeply loved him.

Ray was born to Blair Barnes and Helen Keller-Barnes, on May 12, 1934 in Spokane, Washington. He was the youngest of five siblings. Following the birth of Ray, his family moved to Montana. They then relocated to Brogan, Oregon and eventually moved to a country home outside of Vale, Oregon. He grew up working hard on the family farm, while attending Vale schools from primary grades through high school. He was a very good athlete and lettered all four years in baseball and football. He lettered three years in basketball. He graduated in 1952. Ray joined the Army shortly after graduation. He was a member of the 101st Airborne Division. He was very proud of his service to his country. He was in the service for three years. One of his favorite activities was being a Paratrooper! He loved the thrill, but his wife later told him jumping out of planes is a thing of the past!

Ray attended Boise Junior College to play football and then transferred to Oregon State to play baseball. After completing his Bachelor’s Degree he returned to school to complete two different Masters Degrees, one in Counseling and one in Administration.

After he completed his degree in Secondary Education, his first year of teaching and coaching was in Adrian, Oregon. The next year he taught at Vale High School, moving his family to Vale, in 1961. He taught English, Math, Science and Physical Education. He also coached from 1961 to 1975. For him, nothing compared to being a Viking in his hometown of Vale, Oregon. He loved Vale. He loved the people and it was a perfect fit for him to return to the town he loved as a teacher and a coach. He was Assistant Coach for Football and Basketball. One of his greatest memories was being the Head Varsity Baseball Coach and winning the District Title, thirteen out of fourteen years. He worked 26 years in the Vale High School and then he transferred to Baker City High School, to become Vice Principal. He served a total of 30 years in the field of education, until his retirement in 1987. He continued to be connected to the field of education as a Board Member of the ESD for several years.

Another significant aspect in Ray’s lifetime achievements has been the devotion and loyalty to his family. Ray continued playing in a semi-pro baseball team during summers while he was getting his education. It was at one of those baseball games that Ray spotted his future bride, Nancy House, in the grand-stands. He described her as “a pretty good-looking girl.” They dated for a month before he proposed. The couple was wed on December 28, 1958. Ray referred to his wife Nancy as “one in a million!” They were married for nearly fifty-three years until the passing of Nancy in 2011. They raised four children, Todd, Kurt, Krissie and Laurie, and eight grandchildren. He was actively involved in whatever activity his children participated in. His family was so important to him. Ray was a strong man who believed in being honest and loyal to family and friends. He has maintained good friendships through grade school, high school and the Army.

He loved to go to the family cabin in Unity, Oregon. He loved to fish “by what he called the big tree.” He kept that location a secret because he didn’t want other people to take “his spot.” Unity was his place to get away with his friends and, of course, his family. He was a devoted father and husband. He dedicated his life to his family and to making a difference in people’s lives. Numerous former students have reported back to him throughout his life that his influence was significant in theirs. One of his greatest hopes was to make a positive difference in many lives, just as students, coaches and community had done for him.

Ray had many fond memories of being a teacher, coach and principal. He was active up until this last year by attending school and community events. You could always spot him in the crowd, talking with friends or cheering on the team while wearing a Vale Vikings baseball cap with pride! Ray was also involved in the community by being a member of the Lions and Elks clubs. He was an active member at Vale St. Patrick’s Catholic Church for many years. He served as the Men’s Club President.

Ray was inducted into the Vale Hall of Fame in 2018. He was so happy to be recognized while he was still living and very humble about being honored for his lifetime of service to the community. It was one of his proudest moments.

Ray had an infectious smile that could turn anyone’s poor mood right around. He liked telling jokes and had one for every occasion. He liked good jokes and loved to laugh. He was still smiling and laughing up until the end.

Ray is preceded in death by his parents, three sisters, his wife, and his son, Todd Barnes. He is survived by his oldest brother, Lee Barnes, two daughters, Krissie Munson and Laurie Suitter, and eight grandchildren, including, Parker and Lexi Barnes; Garrett Munson; Mathew, Morgan and Molly Erskine and Marlee and Maicin Albin.

He is described by his daughters as being their Hero. His legacy will be kept alive in their hearts. He will be missed by many people. He is now joining “his beloved Nancy”, his son and many friends and family members in Heaven. Ray would want all of us to remember his message “keep on keepin’ on!” Until we see you again.

Rosary on March 12th at 7pm

Funeral services on March 13th at noon

All services to be held at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Vale, Oregon

Memorials can be made to Vale Alumni Association at PO Box 274, Vale, Oregon 97918