Willis Holcombe Barnes

Published 3:47 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2022

FRANKLIN – Willis Holcombe Barnes, 93, of Franklin, passed away peacefully on Saturday, Oct. 29, in her home.

Willis Holcombe Barnes

Willis married her husband, James Clifton “Cliff” Barnes, who predeceased her after 64 years of marriage. She was the youngest child born to a big family and her beloved siblings predeceased her and their spouses as follows: Gladys Holcombe, Flora Simone (Joe), Bonnie Battle (L.B.), Doris Bradshaw (R.H.), Brac Holcombe (Marguerite), Marvin Holcombe (Dorothy), C.J. Holcombe Jr. (Amy), Dawn Wright (Stockton), along with her niece Emily Holcombe and nephews Richard Edward and Elliott Wright.

Willis’s two daughters, Diane Barnes (Jon Otis), New York City, Joan Barnes (Dave Patzke), Cartersville, Georgia, and her grandsons, Payne Patzke, Woodstock, Georgia, and Parker Patzke, Atlanta, Georgia, will miss her dearly.

Her nieces and nephews include Pam Gavrity, Cliff Holcombe (Leslie), Allen Story, Lemuel Battle (Leslie), Ann Wright, Barbara Barnes Umphlett (Donnie) and many great-nephews and nieces. Our family is grateful for the love and dedication of her wonderful caregivers.

Willis was born in Southampton County to her parents, Clifton James Sr., and Gabie Ella Holcombe. She graduated from Courtland High School and had a 22-year career as an executive secretary at Birdsong Peanuts.

She warmly welcomed family and friends to her home. The sun porch door was always open with appetizers and Virginia peanuts.

She loved playing bridge and enjoyed this game throughout her life. She served many years as a member of the Woman’s Club in Franklin and participated in important events. She maintained her relevancy well into her 90’s with her Facebook page, computer skills and a love for Hallmark movies. Willis was active on Zoom and in touch with her family weekly. She traveled to the Outer Banks and Williamsburg within the last year.

Willis attended Harvest Christian Church and was grateful for the support of her minister, Pastor Randall Wright.

Memorial contributions to Harvest Christian Church, 27002 Smith’s Ferry Road, Franklin, Virginia 23851, or Hunterdale Volunteer Fire Department, 201 Delaware Road, Franklin, VA 23851.

A service honoring her life will be on Saturday, Nov. 5, at 2 p.m. at Wright Funeral Home, 206 West Fourth Avenue, Franklin. The family will receive friends Thursday evening, Nov. 3 at Wright Funeral Home from 6 – 7:30 p.m. The graveside service is private for the immediate family.

Family and friends are welcome to sign the online guest book at https://www.wrightfuneralhome.org as we say farewell to Willis Barnes – fondly known to family and friends as Smookie!