W. Thomas Barnes

W. Thomas Barnes, retired chief financial officer of Johns Hopkins Hospital whose charitable interests included many Baltimore nonprofits, died Jan. 17 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville. (Baltimore Sun / January 24, 2012)

W. Thomas Barnes, retired chief financial officer of Johns Hopkins Hospital whose charitable interests included many Baltimore nonprofits, died Jan. 17 from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at the Broadmead retirement community in Cockeysville.

The former longtime Lutherville resident was 85.

The son of the vice president of finance for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and a homemaker, William Thomas Barnes, who never used his first name, was born in Baltimore and raised on Allendale Street in West Baltimore.

After graduating from City College in 1944, he enlisted in the Navy, where he served for two years in the European Theater and attained the rank of yeoman first class.

He earned his bachelor's degree in 1949 from Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College, and a master's degree in business in 1952 from the old Baltimore College of Commerce, which is now part of the University of Baltimore.

He became a certified public accountant in 1953.

Mr. Barnes began his professional career as an accounting clerk in 1949 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, and in 1951 became supervisor of accounts receivable. He was named assistant controller in 1954.

In 1957, Mr. Barnes was promoted to controller. He was named associate administrator of finance in 1964 and two years later was elected corporate treasurer.

He was elected corporate secretary in 1972, and vice president the next year. At his retirement in 1989, Mr. Barnes was CFO of Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Stuart A. Erdman, senior director of finance for the Johns Hopkins Health Systems, came to work for Mr. Barnes in 1971.

"He was not only a mentor to me but to many others, and I grew under his leadership," Mr. Erdman said.

He said Mr. Barnes was "very principled and always did the right things for the right reasons. He did not shrink from that."

Mr. Erdman said he learned a great deal from Mr. Barnes on long walks through the Hopkins complex in East Baltimore.

"He knew every brick and why we built this building and how we did things. He knew all the doctors and employees. He knew how we paid and financed things," he said.

Mr. Erdman said that Mr. Barnes was not a micro-manager.

"He picked good leaders. If he gave you a project to do, he trusted you to do it. If you had a problem, he was always calm, peaceful and not intimidating," said Mr. Erdman.

From 1971 until 1989 when he retired, the hospital's revenue had expanded from $60 million to $500 million.

In his retirement, Mr. Barnes continued to volunteer with various nonprofits.

"In his charity work, because of his financial background, he was often asked by various organizations to get involved in their financial matters," said a son, John I. Barnes III, who lives in Lutherville. "He stayed very busy."

He was a director of United Way of Central Maryland Inc. from 1979 to 1982, and had been a director of the American Heart Association of Maryland.

He joined Boy Scout Troop 29 in 1939, and for the next 65 years remained active in Scouting. He served as scoutmaster from 1965 to 1974 of Troop 340 in Lutherville, during which time his three sons attained Eagle Scout status.

In recognition of his long service to the Boy Scouts, Mr. Barnes was awarded the Silver Beaver Award in 1970.

He served on the Board of Child Care from 1973 to 2006, and was on the board of the Salvation Army from 1966 until stepping down in the early 2000s.

Mr. Barnes moved from Lutherville to Glen Arm in the 1980s, and because of his membership on the board of the Cockeysville retirement community, decided to move there in 2003.

Mr. Barnes was an Orioles fan and enjoyed reading. He was a member of the Towson Golf & Country Club and continued playing golf until about five years ago.

His wife of 59 years, the former Catherine Anne Benson, died in 2007.

Mr. Barnes was a longtime active member of Towson United Methodist Church, 501 Hampton Lane, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Feb. 4.

Also surviving are two other sons, William T. Barnes Jr. of Houston and Gary L. Barnes of Corvallis, Ore.; a daughter, Anne B. Humphrey of Elkton; and seven grandchildren.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com