Gordon "Bootsie" Barnes

Photo of Gordon "Bootsie" Barnes Photo of Gordon "Bootsie" Barnes
Gordon "Bootsie" Barnes, the last surviving child of George Walter and Lula I Barnes left this earth and joined his family on July 30, 2019. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather, a devout Christian, friend and mentor to many during his 93 years. Born on the last day of 1925 in Sheridan, Arkansas, he was a 1944 graduate of Sheridan High School. As a BAR man and squad leader in the United States Army, Company A, 8th Infantry, during WWII, he served in the European Campaign and was awarded 3 Bronze Stars. When the war ended, he returned to Arkansas on July 3, 1946 and married his high school sweetheart, Lyndle Irene Beck, on July 13, 1946. They recently celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary. He enrolled at the University of Arkansas on a GI Bill and at the urging of his older brother was a walk-on player for John Barnhill's Razorbacks. After suffering a knee injury during two- a-days he made the decision to focus on academics and his young family. He remained a loyal Razorback fan and supporter. He graduated with honors and in 1950 received the first Masters degree in entomology ever awarded from the U of A College of Agriculture. He began his working career as a graduate assistant for the U of A Agri Extension Service where he formulated the first granular pesticide that was used to control insects in the Arkansas rice fields. He became the Arkansas State Entomologist and moved his family to Little Rock in 1965 and held that position until his retirement in 1982. During his tenure he worked with county agents, cotton scouts and the U S Department of Agriculture to develop protocols which eventually led to the eradication of the boll weevil. He was given the degree of Doctor of Cotton Cartography in 1991 by the National Cotton Council of América. As an Emeritus Extension Entomologist he was named the U of A Department of Entomology's Distinguished Alumni in 2017. Following his retirement from the U of A Cooperative Extension Service, he joined KSSN 96 radio station as the Farm Director and became the voice for Arkansas farmers with daily farm reports until he retired in 1996. He was a member of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters. He also served as past president of the Arkansas Pest Control Association and the local chapter of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. Having made a profession of faith in early childhood, Gordon was baptized and was a member of Lost Creek Missionary Baptist Church in Sheridan. He was an ordained deacon at Central Baptist Church in Fayetteville and Unity Missionary Baptist Church in Little Rock. During his time in Fayetteville, he was instrumental in establishing the Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship at Central Baptist Church. After moving to Little Rock, he continued his service to the Lord by serving as the treasurer for many years for Unity's missionaries to Peru, Japan & Mexico. He lent his voice to the choir and his knowledge of the Lord's word to teaching a Sunday School class until 2018. He was preceded in death by his parents, daughter, Ann, two infant siblings, three brothers, Lee, Chester (Dobie) and Jay, their wives, Helen, Wanda & Catherine, and his sister Loretta Slyby. He is survived by his wife, daughters Nancy (Terry) Ferchow of Arthur, Illinois, Janis (Gary) Kovalscik of Hensley, grandchildren, Melani Ferchow, Amy (Shane) Cook, Kevin (Robin) Nolder, Abby (Lew) McColgan, Cole (Sommer) Harper, Jonah (Kasia) Harper, Emma (Ryan) Martorella and great grandchildren, Jackson Cook, Madelynn Cook, Noah Nolder, Ryan Nolder, Maximus Martorella, Magnolia Harper, and Silas Martorella, brother-in-law, Herbert Slyby and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Funeral services will be 11 a.m. on Friday, August 2, 2019 at Roller-Drummond funeral home, 10900 I-30, Little Rock, Ark. (501) 455-5800 with Brother Mark Harris officiating. A visitation will begin one hour prior to services. Burial will follow at Pinecrest Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in his memory to the MBSF or mission programs at Unity Missionary Baptist Church, 1223 Garland Dr, Little Rock, Ark. 72204 or the Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, c/o the University of Arkansas Foundation, Inc., Fayetteville, Ark. 72701. To sign the online guest book, please visit

Published July 31, 2019