Viola Gay Barnes
Jan. 11, 1902 ~ Mar. 7, 1999
Viola's father, Ernest Robert Barnes,
was the caretaker of the Texas
State Cemetery from 1912 to 1950.
A native Texan, Viola along with
her siblings, lovingly cared for
these grounds for 38 years. She
maintained a life-long interest in
the welfare of the Cemetery,
providing anecdotes and photographic
records documenting its historical
legacy. Her fondest memories were
those spent here on these sacred
grounds. She was a humble woman
who loved all of God's creation,
especially children, flowers, and
animals. Viola never married, but
chose instead to invest her life in
serving and caring for others.
||Viola Gay Barnes
||Section:Statesman's Meadow, Section 2 (G)
|Reason for Eligibility:
||Governor's Proclamation; Lived in Caretaker's Cottage for 38 years, with father and Cemetery Sexton, Earnest R. Barnes
||January 11, 1902
|| March 7, 1999
||March 10, 1999
BARNES, VIOLA GAY (1902-1999) Viola Gay Barnes, daughter of Cemetery Caretaker, Ernest R. Barnes, lived and worked at the Texas State Cemetery from 1912 to 1950. Her family, which included other children, lived in the Caretaker's Cottage on the cemetery grounds and helped cut the grass, plant flowers, maintain monuments and other various duties.
In 1995, during the Cemetery's restoration , Miss Barnes came forward to share her memories and photographs of her life at the Cemetery. She revealed many previously unknown details about the Cemetery's history.
Having never married or had any children of her own, Governor George W. Bush, through a Governor's Proclamation, allowed Miss Barnes to be buried in the Cemetery that she dearly loved.
She died March 7, 1999, and was buried behind her childhood home, the Caretaker's Cottage, three days later.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Thatcher, Rebecca, "Barnes' memory captured history of state cemetery", Austin American-Statesman, March 10, 1999; Gamino, Denese "Woman brings history of State Cemetery to life", Austin American-Statesman, November 24, 1995; "Memories add life to State Cemetery", San Antonio Express-News, November 25, 1995; various State Cemetery documents.