We are shocked and saddened to announce the sudden death of a true American patriot. Many an individual may wish to be famous, but Jim’s legacy is the result of his deep love for America and his belief that its freedoms must always be defended. Jim passed away during his sleep on December 27th, 2023, ending a lengthy history of researching, training, serving, and sharing what ordinary citizens must learn and practice to preserve and protect our liberties as a free nation.
James Edgar Barnes was born to Edgar and Altha Barnes of Otsego, Michigan, on October 17, 1942. He grew up amid snow and ice, graduating from Otsego High School in 1960 and achieving a degree in Physics from Michigan State University in 1964 (more cold weather). Through Michigan state’s ROTC program, Jim was commissioned in 1965 into the United States Air Force and trained in Waco, Texas (warm weather, at last!), as an electronics warfare officer and navigator for B-52 Bombers. Soon after, he began flying missions in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. During his years of military service, Jim was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, America’s fourth-highest combat decoration, as well as the Air Medal for meritorious service.
In 1970, Jim’s professional life segued into the automotive industry, calling for travels to several foreign nations, including India and Thailand, several areas in the United States, and several returns to the South Texas border as engineer, supervisor, and manager. In 2002, Jim and Beth happily transferred to the year-round mild weather of Brownsville for a quality-control position in the automotive industry. As a Supply Quality Manager in Matamoros, Mexico, Jim commuted daily back and forth across the border. When he retired from the auto industry in 2005, Jim and Beth decided to make the Rio Grande Valley their permanent home; they settled in McAllen, then finally in Mission to begin their next life in pro-active politics by joining the Hidalgo County GOP.
After carrying out 191 combat flying missions and earning 30 air medals, Jim was already familiar with a life of service. And serve, he did! Over the years he worked as precinct chair, block-walker, phone-banker, local election judge and trainer of other judges, chair of various committees in the county elections department and in the Hidalgo County GOP, on joint GOP/Tea Party committees, and as a member of OWLS (Objective Watchers of our Legal System). Jim also served several times as a Texas state delegate to national Republican Party conventions and for many years was editor-in-chief of the Valley Conservative Newsletter and Calendar (with a circulation of more than 500 readers).
Jim’s long stint as President of the McAllen/Hidalgo County Tea Party Association, alongside loyal wife Beth as Secretary, was especially dear to his heart. Until his death, Jim engaged with activists across the Rio Grande Valley, upper South Texas, Tyler, and Austin via emails, phone calls and monthly meetings as he maintained involvement with the Republican Party of Texas, Texas Tea Party Patriots, and Veterans of Foreign Wars. At considerable personal cost, Jim interacted in person with these and other Conservative entities, even testifying at the Austin Capitol several times in committee hearings. His free time was likewise used to promote precious liberties, as when he enjoyed a day at the shooting range with fellow Second Amendment patriots, teaching as an NRA Firearms Instructor, and performing as a competitive shooter.
In particular, Jim strongly advocated for smaller government with fewer regulations, election integrity, veterans’ affairs, and gun rights. A magazine article once summed up Jim’s motivation for this life of service to America: “I would like to see a shift toward the Conservative values that guarantee the further existence of The Republic. That includes an honest approach to the voters of the Rio Grande Valley.”
Having been preceded in death by his parents, Jim is survived by his loving wife Beth, two sons (Chuck and Dennis), and one stepson (Jon), five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, as well as co-workers, friends, and admirers too numerous to count. We say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You will long be missed.”
Jim also contributed as a guest writer for Texas Border Business:
A graveside service was held Friday, January 19, 2024, at the Veterans Cemetery, 2520 Inspiration Road, Mission, Texas 78572, at 1:00 p.m.
Mrs. Barnes expresses her gratitude to all. She sends a card, which should have been distributed at his funeral service at the Veterans Cemetery, for all of his readers to have. A Condolence Letter by Gov. Abbott was also written for him
Feel free to send Mrs. Barnes a note by responding to Mr. Barnes’ Valley Conservative Newsletter and Calendar or by contacting her directly at 956-592-3830.
A GoFundMe page has been created to assist Mrs. Barnes during these difficult times at