Ralph Joel Barnes, 76, of Monticello, passed away on April 22, 2015 at his home.

He was born February 22, 1939 in Wilmar and from that day to this he has brought great joy and love to many people.

Mr. Barnes married Linda Rose Hayes on December 22, 1967. They spent 48 years together sharing their joy and love of Jesus and gospel music with all who would listen.

He worked for Burlington Mills for 38 years and Leisure Lodge for five years. Each job brought him new friends. Mr. Barnes and Mrs. Barnes took into their hearts and home the beautiful Barbara Jean Barnes and then proceeded to bring up half the children of Drew County, Allen, Walter, Cynthia, Madison, Alisa, Chelsea and John to name only a few.

Mr. Barnes enjoyed many things, but fishing was his passion. He would fish from sun up to sun down, and even slipped in a few night fishing trips. When his health began to fail he took up woodworking. He could often be found working on a birdhouse or swing and sometimes a clock. He loved gadgets. He would sit and play with a new gadget for hours and then try to build one.

He would not want tears today. He would say “Go on, cry it out, then go fishing or build something. But most of all live. Remember me with a smile and know that I walk the streets of heaven with Jesus.” He would ask, “Are you ready? You came to say goodbye today, but it need not be goodbye. If you walk in the Lords way I know we will see each other again in our heavenly home.”

Mr. Barnes will be greeted in heaven by his parents, Wesley Barnes and Lillie Bell Bostian Barnes Wingier; three brothers, James Barnes, William (Dick) Barnes, and Aubrey Barnes; three sisters, Beatrice Towler, Rachel Martin and Mary Loveless and four nephews Larry Barnes, Mikey Huff, Bobby Barnes, and Harold Barnes.

He is survived by his wife, Linda Rose Barnes; one daughter, Barbara Jean Barnes both from Monticello; one brother, Robert Barnes and wife Rosie of McGehee; six nephews, seven nieces and many great and great-great nephews and nieces.

Funeral service will be April 25 at 11 a.m. at Stephenson-Dearman Chapel with interment in Greenhill Cemetery.