Lenoir resident David Barnes’ love of nature lives on in donations to Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina

On April 6, David Barnes, Jr., a lifelong resident of Lenoir and a nature enthusiast, passed away. His family has deep roots in the farmlands of Alexander County and the Blue Ridge Mountains and his childhood was spent primarily outdoors.

“Those days, there wasn’t much else to do but be outside,” said Greg Hamlyn, Barnes’ son-in-law. “The forests and creeks of Lenoir were his playground and where he spent every day.”

Upon his passing, Barnes’ family asked for donations to Foothills Conservancy in his memory, to honor his love for Wilson Creek and the surrounding foothills. Donations made in his honor included nearly $3,000 from Red Hat, Inc. in Raleigh, which was raised by coworkers of Barnes’ daughter Laura Hamlyn, as a surprise to her and her family.

“When we asked Greg what would be best, he said that the family had selected a nonprofit that encompasses everything [Laura’s] dad loved about where David grew up and the outdoors,” said Leigh Blaylock, who works with Laura Hamlyn at Red Hat. “The family specifically chose Foothills Conservancy because of the work the conservancy has done at Wilson Creek, David’s favorite spot.”

Memorial gifts like those made in honor of David Barnes are meaningful to Foothills Conservancy’s ongoing work preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains and foothills.

“We’re so grateful that David’s family chose to honor his love of nature with donations to Foothills Conservancy,” said Beth Willard-Patton, the conservancy’s associate director. “Our organization is proud to carry forward his legacy in the work we do conserving important land and waterways in this region.”

Barnes loved the mountains of Western North Carolina and always held particular affection for Wilson Creek. He cherished the time he spent at his sister’s home in Sugar Grove where her family lived surrounded by dogs, greenhouses and a trout pond. He lived his entire life with a love for the outdoors and natural things. He also lived for his family.

“He never missed anything in his children’s lives,” said Greg. “His children lived primarily in South Carolina with their mother while he lived in Lenoir. It didn’t matter if they had a 15-minute recital or a birthday party—he made the trip and was there for it all.”

Additional donations in memory of David memory can be made at www.foothillsconservancy.org/donate.