Viola Gay Barnes

Portrait of Viola Gay Barnes Headstone Photograph

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.
Full Name: Viola Gay Barnes
Location: Section:Statesman's Meadow, Section 2 (G)
Row:H  Number:34
Reason for Eligibility: Governor's Proclamation; Lived in Caretaker's Cottage for 38 years, with father and Cemetery Sexton, Earnest R. Barnes 
Birth Date: January 11, 1902 
Died: March 7, 1999 
Burial Date: 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.

Additional Multimedia Files To Download:

#1840) Title:Viola Barnes and Sister
Source:Viola Barnes Personal Photo Collection
Description:Viola and her sister as small children living in the Sexton Cottage on the grounds of the Texas State Cemetery.

#1843) Title:Ernest Robert Barnes
Source:Viola Barnes Photo Collection
Description:Ernest Robert Barnes father of Viola and cemetery sexton (care taker) from 1912 to 1950.


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