Clinton D. “Wayne” Barnes was born March 3, 1932 in Carter, Oklahoma, were he started school. He came to Camp Verde at age six. He graduated from Camp Verde High School at age 17 and went to two years of college in Flagstaff.
In 1945 when he was barely 13 years old, he was the victim of a tragic farm accident on a hay bailer and both his legs were severed below the knee. It didn’t stop him though. He had another accident in 1960 which slowed him down when he was thrown from a bareback horse belonging to Wayne Richards. The horse was startled by the family dog and it bent down forward throwing him off the front with a three point landing breaking his nose, broke out his front teeth and also broke both wrists. Now with no legs no arms and no teeth.
His biggest influence in his life was his granddad, John D. Hollamon who raised him and taught him to fish. Every Sunday after church and dinner they would head to the river to see who could catch the largest catfish. Granddad also taught him to play the steel guitar which he mastered himself and was known all over for his talent. He was very fond of his uncle Doug who was also a musician but Doug mysteriously disappeared in the early ‘40s and was never found.
After college, Wayne traveled over the West and North-West playing in various bands. He met and became very good friends with Bud Issacs, famed steel guitar player who invented the pedal steel guitar.
He returned back to Camp Verde in 1954 and went into business with his step-father, Frank (Columbo) Bliss and his mom building a service station and café at Cienega Creek on Black Canyon highway. He married his wife Shirley Boren in 1957. Then in the early 1960s the state was planning a new double lane highway and bought the business and Wayne received a third of the sale. So he and his wife invested the money in a their own business, The Rio Verde Buffet & Steakhouse on Main Street in Camp Verde. A couple of years later, there was an artist staying in the motel across the street and was working with a core drilling crew that was in town, he broke into the back of the bar and set a fire and the businesses were destroyed. They built back up, adding more space and ran the bar a few more years, then selling it back to Shelly Richards and kept the café until 1992 selling it to Woody’s next door. While in the restaurant, several locals would gather every morning and one of the best customers, Darv Whietcamp (local plumber) was heckling one of the waitresses and she threatened to throw a cream pie in his face, another customer overheard and said he would pay her to do it. Not knowing when it was going to happen, Darv came in every morning prepared for retaliation. By the time it was to happen there were so many involved and the whole place was in disarray but $200.00 was raised and donated to the fire department for the “jaws of life” they needed to purchase.
Wayne was chairman of the Fort Verde Days celebration in 1964, one of Camp Verde’s best. The night of the Military Ball, he and his band were providing the music and when they took an intermission, he jumped off the stage in the old high school gym and broke one of his artificial feet off. Ken Hough and Gene Mulholland took him and his foot up to their Camp Verde Garage and welded it back on and shortly the dance continued.
He served as president of the Camp Verde Clinic Association and when they were having financial difficulties, he lent them money to help them out and they paid it back as soon as they were able. He was very proud of our Fire and Ambulance Crew as we should be here in Camp Verde. He often said they were “the very best” and should be well commended for their excellent service. Special thanks to Bill Boler, Phil Harbeson, and Clayton Young.
Wayne loved the outdoors and was an avid hunter and fisherman and didn’t let his handicap discourage him. He received special awards for both hunting and fishing and was featured in several paper, magazine and book articles. He took the challenge of bow hunting and earned two awards for the largest Buck Deer in Arizona with one shot and the second largest too. That was with older original archery equipment!
Wayne was married to his wife, Shirley for more than 55 years. They have two daughters, Gelnda Maybery and Sharee Lawayne Barnes. They lost a baby son in 1964, Wayne wanted to name him Doug after his uncle. Together they have four grandchildren, Travis and Makenzie Mabery and Rhianna and Ivan Byrne and also four great-grandchildren, Daniel and Emory Byrne, Quincey Mabery and Jace Byrne Flick. His sisters are Frankie Mann, Tina Gray, Rhonda and Janice and his brother is Kenneth Wayne Barnes and his step-brother, Bill Brewer. His aunt is Pearl Bingaman (who was like his sister to him) and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Information provided by survivors.