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William CC Barnes '58

January 2021

On Monday, January 18, William Calvin Chesnut Barnes passed away at the age of 80 at a memory care facility in The Villages, Florida. Bill was born on July 23, 1940 in Baltimore to Judge Wilson K. and Elizabeth (Chesnut) Barnes. He attended Gilman and Lawrenceville, and graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University in 1962. After he received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1965, Bill was a captain in the army during the Vietnam War, and served in the JAG Corps in Washington. D.C., where he was called upon to briefly represent one of the soldiers involved in the My Lai massacre.

He went on to practice law for 56 years in Baltimore, primarily doing estate work. Becoming an attorney was his goal from a very early age, as he came from a family of legal scholars — including his mother, who was the second woman to pass the bar in the state of Maryland. He was extremely close to his grandfather, Judge William Calvin Chesnut, known as Calvin, who was a federal judge, and who supported and encouraged Bill greatly throughout his schooling.

Bill was very active in the Episcopal church and enjoyed singing in the choir and occasionally playing flute solos. He loved to ski, and he counted among his favorite memories the semiannual trips he took with a group of friends, to places like Jackson Hole. His passion for the game of golf moved him from his lifelong home to Florida. He was proud to have scored two holes-in-one over the many years he played the game.

Bill was known for his corny jokes, his gentle, unexcitable nature, and his fine brain. Watching dementia take him was a shock for all who knew him. Due to COVID restrictions, Bill will be interred in a small private ceremony in Florida. A memorial service at the Church of the Holy Comforter will be scheduled when it is safe to do so. Bill is survived by his wife, Janice Gordon-Barnes, his three children, William C.C. Barnes, Jr., Nancy, and Andrew; three grandchildren; his ex-wife Leigh Barnes; and his brother, Wilson King Barnes, Jr.


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