Barnes, Mark Duncan


Mark Duncan Barnes, 64, a lifelong resident of Johnston, RI with one inevitable and fateful pit stop in Auburn, AL, died suddenly and peacefully at home on February 13, 2024, thus ensuring that he never had to slow down despite everyone’s advice to the contrary.

He was born on April 6, 1959, to his wonderful parents Porter Ingram Barnes, Jr. and Lois Martha Thompson Barnes, both of whom predeceased him and whose influence shaped him into the extraordinary person he became. For 36 years, he was the husband of Laura DiMillo Barnes, about whom his mom once famously said: “you had to go to the South to fall in love with an Italian Yankee?” He also leaves behind his three children who utterly adored him: Kathrine Lois Barnes, of Johnston and Atlanta; Matthew Porter Barnes, of Johnston and Los Angeles; and Lauren Mary Barnes Schirmer and her husband Jacob Schirmer, of Johnston. He is also survived by his beloved older siblings and their families: Robert and Jeanna Barnes of Cumming, GA; Tonya and Scott Dobslaw of Chesnee, SC; and Rodney Barnes of Dahlonega, GA, along with many cousins, nieces, nephews, and godchildren.

He made incredible friends growing up in Rhode Island, many of whom remained like family to him to this day. After his education in Johnston schools, he attended Auburn University, a rite of passage for many members of many generations in the Barnes family. He graduated with a degree in Building Science and used those skills, along with the engineering and architectural lessons he learned from his dad, every day for the rest of his life. His career in construction, project management, and business ownership spanned decades, but he was happiest working for the State of Rhode Island for the past 11 years, most recently as the Chief Engineer for the Department of Administration, Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance. He truly loved his job and his colleagues, and he counted many of them among his dearest friends. He still owned and treasured the lake house he grew up in on Slack’s Reservoir, and he was a past president of the Slack’s Reservoir Association.

Mark was extremely capable, innovative, confident, decisive, gregarious, and absolutely selfless. He could construct and fix just about anything, and, if he couldn’t, his curiosity and drive guaranteed he would learn how. He could make friends with anyone he encountered, and he never met a person in need he wouldn’t drop everything to help. He was effortlessly hysterical and burst into his infectious, boisterous laughter freely and often. His unwavering love, devotion, and care for his friends and family taught his children how to cherish, support, and be of service to their loved ones. He was everyone’s dad. He was larger than life. We will all miss him forever, and he will live on in everyone who knew him.

Visitation will be held at Anderson Winfield Funeral Home in Greenville, RI on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, from 2-5pm with a service held afterward at the same location. His family would love to see anyone and everyone who loved him. To honor Mark, please plant a garden, adopt a pet, build something with your hands, enjoy a delicious meal, or give your loved ones a big, gentle bear hug.

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