Richard Allan “Dick” Barnes, age 82, passed away May 9, 2023, in Lexington.

Dick was born in Tallahassee, Florida, son of Terry Allen Barnes and Maude Richard Barnes.

His family relocated to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where Dick attended Campus School and Hobgood School as well as First Methodist Church. He attended Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), majoring in education. While a student, he and 12 friends formed a local fraternity, acquired a house, wrote bylaws, and created a ritual. The fraternity grew and in 1969 was chartered as a chapter of Kappa Alpha Order (KA).

Following graduation, he taught at a local middle school and obtained a master’s degree from MTSU in school administration.

In 1970, he took a position with KA, relocating to Dallas. Two years later he moved to Atlanta for a promotion with KA. Dick was named executive director (the fourth to hold that position since it was created in 1933) in 1985. One of Dick’s first assignments was moving the KA headquarters to Lexington, which he accomplished by January 1986.

KA was in temporary office space until 1992 when Dick helped lead the renovation and restoration of the historic former Rockbridge County Jail on Courthouse Square in downtown Lexington. The building was designed by Thomas U. Walter, constructed in 1839, and the restoration was the subject of a laudatory article in Preservation magazine, receiving an award from the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities for the best preservation project in 1992. In November 1995, after more than 25 years on staff, Dick retired from his role at KA.

A passionate advocate for KA and for his adopted home of Brownsburg, Dick continued an interest in preservation and restoration, restoring his home that had last been used as a shelter for pigs.

During the project, Barnes stored his furniture in an empty storefront. Soon neighbors began inquiring when he was going to open an antiques store, leading to what he decided was “a fine idea.” Thus, with a nod to KA, Old South Antiques was born and thrived in Brownsburg for many years. His shop soon became the nexus of the village.

In 1998, he led the formation and founding of the Brownsburg Community Association and then, in 2008, the formation of the Brownsburg Museum. Dick and the museum he helped create were recognized by the Historic Lexington Foundation in 2017 with the Founders Award. Dick later earned the award in his own right in 2020.

Many in the area credit Dick with the revival of the village through his purchase and restoration of houses and his encouragement of other potential home buyers to purchase village property.

Dick was a recipient of the highest award a KA can receive, the Knight Commander’s Accolade, and was recognized with the Fraternity Executives Association Distinguished Achievement Award.

He was an active parishioner and member of the choir at New Providence Presbyterian Church.

Dick was preceded in death by his parents, his brothers, Tommy and Danny and his sister, Cherry Barnes Douglas.

He is survived by a sister, Crystal Barnes Brandon (Larry); nieces, Alyssa Brandon (Steve Bell), Amy Barnes Smith (Scott), Allison Stoltz (Mike), Ashley Barnes Dumat, and Karen Mikulec Stone (Shannon).

The visitation and funeral will take place in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Tuesday, May 30. The family will receive visitors from 11 a.m. until the chapel service at 1 p.m. at Jennings and Ayers Funeral Home, 820 S. Church St., Murfreesboro, TN 37130, with Dr. John Vile officiating. Burial will follow in Evergreen Cemetery with family and friends serving as pallbearers. Please leave online condolences for the family at www.jenningsandayers.com.

A memorial service will also be held at New Providence Presbyterian Church on Friday, June 9, at 4 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be directed to the Barnes Memorial/ Brownsburg Museum, P.O. Box 82, Brownsburg, VA 24415, or to the Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation, www.kaoef.org/donate.


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