Charles Barnes

Charles Berry Barnes, 80, of Beaufort, reunited with his Lord Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

The memorial service for Charles Barnes is at 1 p.m. Monday at Rawlinson Road Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C.

Charles, born in River Falls, S.C., Dec. 10, 1940, to Gordon and Flossie Barnes, lived his entire life daring mighty things, and among his most glorious triumphs is leaving an enduring legacy for all those who had the privilege to know him. His legacy is one of service, hard work, compassion for others and an undeniable gusto for life.

Charles enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1958 and served as an aviation administrative specialist Norfolk, Va., and a builder in the Navy Seabees Construction Battalion in Alaska, Guam and Midway. He was honorably discharged in 1962. In the mid-1980s, Charles joined the U.S. Navy Reserves as a Seabee and later deployed to Operation Desert Storm. Charles was honorably discharged from the Navy Reserves in 2001.

His military decorations include the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Kuwait and Saudi Arabia Liberation Medals and the U.S. Navy Seabee Combat Service Device. From conducting base maintenance in Saudi Arabia to runway repair in Guam, Charles was not afraid of hard work, and he was committed to building things that last.  

It was that same commitment that carried him through his career outside of the Navy. Charles, who as an infant slept in a dresser drawer in a lumber company’s line house, wanted to build a legacy and ensure his family knew that bigger things were possible. Rather than accepting the status quo for young men in his hometown - decades of low-paying work at the local mill - Charles went to work as an assistant manager at the retail store W.T. Grant. Spurred by the words of President Roosevelt, he took a leap and began his career as a master retailer, entrepreneur and sojourner of jobs.

Whether it was selling “unbreakable” dishes at the flea market, mobile homes at Clayton Motor Homes, where he earned countless awards and celebratory trips, or signs at C. Barnes & Sons, Charles took pride in his work and what it meant for his family. He married the love of his life, Clara Joan, during a weekend of leave in 1961, and from then on, two fiercely independent individuals became a team - working together to raise their boys, Eric and wife Jennifer and Jason and wife Cheryl, to know the value of education, hard work and service. He took tremendous pride in seeing both of his sons graduate from college and pursue careers in public service. They also ensured their family never forgot to have fun. Joan was, after all, his dance partner for life.

It was that fun-loving, joyful and infectious spirit that meant Charles never met a stranger, and outrageous generosity was one of his favorite pastimes. It was a trait that endeared him to the many communities he called home, from Hickory to Rock Hill, and will be the cornerstone of his legacy.

Charles was a master retailer, but he was also a master of fun.

He is survived by his two sons; three grandchildren, Zachary, Tiffany and Kathryn; and great-grandchild, Tucker, with countless memories of tall tales involving kangaroo burgers, which he coined “Rooburgers” that would be sold at “Whatahopper,” the brightest Fourth of July fireworks displays in the neighborhood, the largest desserts on the menu and frequent reminders that “every day’s a beach, every night’s a party.”  

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Charles’ name to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, NC.

(Paid obituary)

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