Raymond Barnes marks his 90th; Westminster man retains passion for motor vehicles


When Raymond Barnes celebrated his 90th birthday Aug. 25, his family put 90 candles on the cake.

"They really made a little torchlight," said his daughter, Jean Swartz. "We had to help him blow them out so he wouldn't singe his bald head."

A month earlier, Barnes had been feted at his family's reunion. He was still able to dance in celebration.

Barnes was born and raised on the family farm on London Bridge Road. He married Mary Catherine Zepp on Dec. 29, 1929, and they had four children, one of whom, Evelyn Elizabeth, died at 17 days.

The other children were Mary Larue, Doris Marie and Jean Frances. All are married, and Barnes has four grandchildren.

After his wife died in 1956, he married Lucille Brandenburg on Aug. 28, 1958.

Cars were his passion, even in early childhood. In 1933, he opened a garage on Washington Road, where he sold Ford, Willys, Kaiser-Frazer, Nash Rambler, Jeep and AMC vehicles.

Swartz recalled how her father "enjoyed driving his Jeeps straight up a dirt hill until the customer was ready to buy or jump out."

He won trips as prizes and took his children to Europe, Canada and around the United States.

Today, Barnes and his wife raise vegetables at their Westminster home. Still fascinated by machinery, he mows his lawn on a John Deere tractor for relaxation and fixes his daughters' mowers.

Pub Date: 9/15/99

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