Denny B. Barnes, 76, of Onida, South Dakota passed away Thursday, January 14, 2016. Visitation was held Tuesday, January 19th from 5-7 p.m. with a Prayer Service and Memory Sharing at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Onida. Funeral service will be Wednesday, January 20th at 2 p.m. at Holy Cross Lutheran Church.
Denny B. Barnes was born October 12, 1939 in Oakdale, California, the son of Samuel “Sam” Barnes and Bernice “Peggy” Norwood Barnes. He was raised on a dairy farm that instilled a strong work ethic and a lifelong love of agriculture. He graduated from Oakdale High School in 1957. He attended two years at Modesto Junior College in Modesto, California and received his B.S. degree in Mechanized Agriculture from Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California. At Cal Poly, he was very active in the Rodeo Club, having served as the president for several years. His college Senior Project was a mechanized bale buster that was installed at the university feed mill, and remained there in use until the feed mill was torn down and replaced. Denny was a member of the California National Guard, and after moving to South Dakota completed his six year commitment with the Army National Reserve out of Aberdeen. He was a lifetime member of the American Legion.
During the summers of 1958 and 1961 Denny traveled to South Dakota to visit his father and spent the summer working in Sully County. He liked the country. There were fewer people, and land was cheaper. He thought that maybe there was room for one more guy. And he was right. On March 7, 1964, Denny married his college sweetheart, Esther L. Alexander, in Downey, California. They moved to Sully County, South Dakota where Denny was employed as foreman for Dennis Anderson Corp., west of Onida for six years. He later worked for Maynard Green before starting his own farm/ranch operation in 1975 in central Sully County. Their marriage was blessed with two children, Rebecca Marie and Jason Matthew. Denny was a pioneer of no-till farming practices as well as the first to plant sunflowers in Sully County. He was a leader in conservation practices, winning a number of awards and committing years of service to various organizations including serving as President of the State Association of Conservation Districts. His true passion was ranching; his cattle were a point of pride. Denny was recognized and respected for quality beef production. Denny maintained an active presence in the lives of his growing children. He served as both a 4-H Leader and President of the Sully Buttes Athletic Booster Club. Denny was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith as a young adult. He worshiped and long served Holy Cross Lutheran Church in numerous leadership roles. His faith was ever present in his life.
Denny is survived by his wife Esther of 52 years as well as his daughter and son-in-law, Rebecca and Chuck Buffington of Greensboro, NC, son and daughter-in-law Jason and Marcia Barnes of Pierre, SD and his beloved grandchildren Jacob Charles, Alexander Samuel and Olivia Marie Buffington of Greensboro, NC. Also surviving are his brother Jack and Joyce Barnes of Fallon, NV, sister Patricia and Jim Titchenal of Oakdale, CA, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Bill and Joyce Alexander of Pierre, SD, and numerous cherished nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Denny is also survived by his adored granddogs Ally and Bella and loyal farm dog Lady. He was preceded in death by his parents Sam and Peggy Barnes as well as his mother and father-in-law Bill and Hildred Alexander. The family wishes to express their gratitude to the host of excellent doctors and nurses who allowed him to be an active partner in his care. Denny approached cancer with the same strength, optimism and determination that were the cornerstones of his rich life.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Jan. 20, 2016