Clarence Barnes Sr., a longtime resident of Springs who established the Barnes Country Store on Springs-Fireplace Road there, died on March 4 at the Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Southampton. He was 80 years old.
Mr. Barnes was born in Indiana to Charles Barnes and the former Helen French. He grew up there, coming to the South Fork in his early 20s while stationed in Montauk with the Air Force.
He met his future wife, the former Dorothy Saskas, here, and they married on March 7, 1952. The couple lived first in Amagansett before moving to Springs.
While Mr. Barnes was running the Amagansett Mobil station, he and his family lived in a double-decker trailer on the property. He also worked at the time as a “special” for the East Hampton Town Police Department and as a crossing guard at the Amagansett School.
He will be remembered, however, for the store near the corner of School Street that still bears his name, where, his family said, “he enjoyed spending time talking with friends and customers for many years.”
“Great food at a fair price,” a satisfied customer wrote of the store on Yelp.com last month. “Never had a problem with customer service. Been stopping here for years.”
An early member of the Springs Fire Department, Mr. Barnes helped in 1970 with the launch of the Free Life hot air balloon, as it set off on a September morning from George Sid Miller’s field in Springs on a doomed transatlantic flight.
In addition to his wife of almost 62 years, who lives in Springs, Mr. Barnes leaves two children, Barbara LaMonda and Brother Barnes, both of Springs; four grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. He is survived also by two brothers, Robert Barnes and Paul Wayne Barnes, and three sisters, Donna Dillman, Sue Weaver, and Cathy Oswalt. His parents and his brothers Jack and Charles Barnes died before him.
Contributions in his name have been suggested to the Hamptons Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing, Unit A, 64 County Road 39, Southampton 11968.