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Olen Franklin Barnes

Vilonia , AR, 1920 - 2019

Olen Barnes was born on September 2, 1920 in Vandervoort, Arkansas. He died on February 24, 2019 at Cabot, Arkansas at age of 98. He was the youngest son of Luther and Nancy Barnes. Most of his early years were spent on a farm near Antlers, Oklahoma. At age 16 he moved with his parents to a hillside farm near Vilonia, Arkansas. Soon afterwards he met Helen Teague who lived on a farm about a mile to the west. In November 1939 he and Helen were married. They set up housekeeping on the farm near Vilonia where they lived the rest of their lives, except for the World War II years. He served in the army from December 1942 to December 1945. Part of his service was in Europe, in Holland, Belgium, and Germany.
He was a farmer all his life, but held several off-farm jobs over the years. He worked at Lawrence's slaughter house in Vilonia, at the meat department of Simons Grocery in Conway, and in USDA pink bollworm eradication program. He enjoyed telling about his experiences growing up, farming, in the army, and in all of his jobs.
As a farmer, he carefully observed what worked well and what didn't, and adjusted his future plans accordingly. He was a hard worker, but also a smart worker, always seeking a more effective and efficient way of doing things. He and Helen always raised a large garden. They raised most of what their farm animals ate. Picking, shelling, canning or freezing, were common activities during the summer months.
He was a member and deacon, of Mt. Carmel Free Will Baptist Church for many years, and then changed to First Baptist Church of Vilonia where he was a member of the choir for many years.
In November 1989 Olen and Helen celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Four months later in March 1990 Helen died unexpectedly.
In August 1991 Olen married Floella Smith Emison. She also preceded him in death about eighteen years later. He also outlived all his brothers and sisters. He is survived by two sons and their wives, Albert & Barbara Barnes, and Joe & Trudy Barnes, all of Vilonia; step-children, Darlene Emison, Morris Emison, and Renee Emison of Little Rock and Conway; grandchildren, Dennis Barnes of Sweeny, Texas, Jodie Richmann of Springfield, Missouri, Kelly McKissack of Vilonia, and Joshua Barnes of Beebe, Arkansas. There are also great- grandchildren, step-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be Tuesday February 26, 2019 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Roller McNutt Funeral Home in Conway. Graveside Service will be Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 10 a.m. at Cypress Valley Cemetery. A Memorial Service will follow at First Baptist Church in Vilonia at 11 a.m.
In Lieu of flowers, we suggest a donation to Vilonia First Baptist Church's Building Fund, 1206 Main St. Vilonia, Ark. 72173 or Kindred Hospice, 770 Factory St. Conway, Ark. 72032. Online Guestbook available at

Published February 26, 2019

Roller-McNutt / Conway
8th and Vine, P.O. Box 249, Conway, AR
Phone: 501-374-2731