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Jack L. Barnes, owner of Elwood Publishing Company, dies unexpectedly

Jack L. Barnes, 85, of Elwood, passed away suddenly, unexpectedly at home Saturday evening, October 3, 2020, following a brief illness.
He was proud to be a lifelong resident of Elwood and an enthusiastic supporter of the community. Family and community were his priorities. Jack loved Elwood. He knew pretty much everybody in town and could tell you where they lived and who they were related to.
The son of Ray F and Mary E (Staker) Barnes, Jack was born May 5, 1935 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Barnes family moved to Elwood from Pampa, Texas in December 1940, a month or so after a Life Magazine photographer snapped the famous photo of Wendell Willkie, right in front of the current Call-Leader offices.
Jack attended Elwood High School and although he graduated from Culver Military Academy in 1953, he took enormous joy in celebrating many reunions with his Elwood classmates. He studied at DePauw University, as well as Ohio University in Athens. He served stateside in the U.S. Army in the late 1950s and was stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri and Ft. Lee, Virginia.
After serving apprenticeships at papers in Portland, Indiana and Alamosa, Colorado, he returned home to assume day to day management of the Elwood Call-Leader in 1963, where he was President and Publisher, and worked his entire career. He liked to say his career in newspapers started as a young boy passing papers, and he claimed to have passed every paper route in Elwood at one point or another.
He was smitten by Judith K (Barber) Barnes, when she was a Nursing student at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, and after a brief courtship they were married at First Methodist Church in Elwood September 21, 1963. They were married 57 years and were never apart the last several years.
Jack later orchestrated the purchases of the Tipton County Tribune and the Alexandria Times-Tribune. He and his wife Judy accepted the Centennial Award in 1993 from then-Governor Frank O’Bannon, recognizing the Call-Leader for 100 years in business.
He was a community leader and was very active throughout the years in the Masonic Lodge, Elwood Elks, Elwood Country Club, United Way, St Vincent Mercy Hospital Foundation, Red Cross, Hoosier State Press Association and Inland Press Association. He and Judy received the Soaring Dove Award from the St. Vincent Mercy Hospital Foundation for their generosity.
His life revolved around family and the family business, and in earlier years, this meant family vacations throughout the Midwest, Reds games, Kings Island, Barnes and Staker family reunions in southeastern Ohio, Spring Break in Arizona with Ray and Ruth Barnes and newspaper meetings.
He loved the 500, the Colts, Friday Night League at the Country Club and occasional vacations in Scottsdale, Arizona, when he and Judy were still able. A long-suffering Cubs fan, he lived to see the Cubs win their first World Series in over a century.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, his step-mother, Ruth (Squier) Barnes, his mother-in-law, Rebecca “Becky” Barber, his father-in-law, Everett Barber, his brother, Charles G (Chuck) Barnes, who also grew up in Elwood and former sister-in-law, ElVena Barnes.
He is survived by his wife, Judy, by three children Anne Bennett, and husband Jeff of Elwood, Scott Barnes and husband Terrence of Indianapolis and Brian Barnes, and wife Debra of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; three grandchildren, Alex Barnes of Charleston, South Carolina, Lauren Bennett currently studying at Purdue and Jack Bennett currently studying at Ancilla College.
He is also survived by nephew Jeff Barnes, and wife Merlene of Kenton, Ohio, niece Jane Temple, and husband Jerry of Kenton, Ohio, and nephew Jim Barnes of Alamosa, Colorado, along with one great-nephew and several great-nieces.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m., Saturday, October 10, 2020, at Dunnichay Funeral Home with the Rev. Scott Blaylock officiating.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m., Friday, October 9, 2020, at Dunnichay Funeral Home. The family requests that attendees please observe masking and social distancing measures in consideration of Judy’s health and the health of her family and caregivers.
For those who prefer to make a donation in Jack’s memory, in lieu of flowers, they can give to either the St. Vincent Mercy Hospital Foundation or the Elwood Chamber of Commerce.
Jack was a great friend to so many in this community and beyond, and nobody who knew him will soon forget him or all the great memories. He will be dearly, dearly missed.
Online condolences can be given at

1 Comment

  1. Kyle W Campbell on October 10, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    Judy, Brian, Scott and Anne,

    Your Father. And husband was an inspirational person i remember as a kid riding my bike to town and always stopping at the call leader to say hi to Jack, you always new when jack was in the office his big van would be parked right out front. my prayers and condolences are with you and your family. God bless you


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