Robert Jasper Barnes, self-proclaimed horse trader and longtime resident of the Wood River Valley, died Feb. 4, 2007, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
He was born May 2, 1917, in Castle Hill, Iowa, to parents Oscar and Jessie. The youngest of three siblings, Robert was the darling of his mother and as a young boy moved with her to California when his parents' marriage ended.
After the historic 1933 Long Beach Earthquake that destroyed his family's home, he headed back to Iowa, hopping freight trains and "riding the rails." Still in his teens, he decided to make his way West once again to California to see his mother and then to enlist in the Navy. He served on the USS Maryland and was released from active service in 1938.
During World War II, Bob once again enlisted, serving in various capacities and was stationed in China and the Philippines.
It was in 1941 that destiny intervened when he stopped for a bite to eat at the Star Café in Long Beach, Calif. He complimented a woman he thought was the cook on the meal and asked her jokingly if she wanted to get married. Her response was, "No, but my sister probably does." In that fateful moment, he met the woman who was to become his wife and lifelong companion, Louise Carter, who preceded him in death in December 2004.
He loved to hunt and fish and moved his family to Idaho in the early 1950s in order to pursue his passion. His children recall with great fondness memories of camping, fishing and picking huckleberries on the shores of Payette Lake in McCall. Each generation of his descendants have cherished memories of learning to fish, hunt or ride horses under the guidance of their beloved "Faz," "Uncle Bob," or "Grandpa."
He led a rich life and touched many people. He was instrumental in organizing the Black Jack Ketchum Shootout in the late 1950s, and he regularly rode his horse in the Wagon Days parade into his mid 80s. He was a member of the American Legion, Hailey Masonic Lodge, served as the president of the Ketchum-Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce in 1965, was building inspector, planning and zoning administrator, owned a barbershop in Ketchum, was an active member of the Sawtooth Rangers and Warm Springs Riding Clubs and was a familiar face at the annual Fourth of July rodeo in Hailey.
He is survived by brother Bruce Barnes of Arizona; sister Patti Huttinger of Iowa; daughters Penny (Bill) Wilson of California, Barbara (Dick) Lewis, of Utah, Roberta Kay of Hailey, Idaho, and Kathy Barnes of Boise, Idaho. Locally, he leaves behind two grandchildren, Tara (Jeff) Mann of Bellevue and Tony Mallane of Hailey and 14 other grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
A true wanderer, wherever Bob's travels took him, he frequently got a tear in his eye as he dropped over Timmerman Hill and sighed with relief that he was home. His legacy to his family will always be a great love of the outdoors—hunting and fishing and camping—and he will always be with us when we drop our lines in that perfect fishing hole, or when we sit around a campfire telling tall tales. Happy Trails to you ... until we meet again.
Please join us in a celebration of his life, drink a beer and share some tales of your own at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007, at the Sun Valley Brewery, Main Street, Hailey, Idaho.