Catherine Ann Waring Barnes, known all her life as Kitty, passed away peacefully on February 7, 2018. Born in Chicago, Kitty and her family returned to Southampton, the Waring family farm in Chaptico, during the Great Depression.
A full teaching scholarship enabled her to attend Western Maryland College (now, McDaniel College) where she graduated with a double major in English and sociology and was named “the most outstanding female graduating senior”. As World War II ended, she returned home to Chaptico and began teaching high school at Margaret Brent when only 21 years old. All through the years, her students continued to thank her for her teaching and her personal support.
A chance re-acquaintance began Kitty’s 55-year love affair with George Barnes. They married in 1948 and Kitty joined the multi-generational family at Piney Point Farm. She and George had an amazing and wonderful partnership, cherishing each other in all aspects of their life together.
Both Kitty and George were leaders in church, community and civic affairs. In consecutive appointments by two Maryland governors, Kitty served on the St. Mary’s County Board of Education for ten years, eight as president. A founder and co-chair of the Potomac River Association, she provided the leadership and vision essential to prevent the building of an oil refinery and fracking plant in Piney Point, beating back the oil company in three separate, successful county-wide referenda. Her environmental activism protected the entire county’s ground water supply and kept the Piney Point/Tall Timbers peninsula from being developed by heavy industry. Kitty was a founding member of the St. Mary’s City Citizens Coalition, a watchdog group providing critical oversight of the St. Mary’s City Commission. For sixty years, Kitty and George were deeply involved at Saint George’s Episcopal Church in Valley Lee, providing continuous leadership on the Vestry, in the choir, on the Altar Guild, for church dinners, and on many, many committees. They were active members of the St. Mary’s County Historical Society. Their leadership for the Second District Volunteer Fire Department spanned fundraising, running the Bingo hall at the annual carnivals, and thoroughly enjoying the dance floor.
Kitty organized and supervised the care of many elderly Saint Mary’s County residents. Both she and George were mentors to numerous young people, who still express their appreciation for all the help and guidance they received. In her years as a social worker, she was instrumental in bringing social work to the county public schools. She also occasionally drove the family school buses and is still known for her Eagle Eyes that could see any mischief happening behind her!
Kitty is survived by her children, Ann Barnes (Columbia, MD), Janet Barnes (James King) of St. Leonard, MD), George Barnes (Pamela) of Harwood, MD; three beloved grandchildren – Catherine, Walter, and Zoe; Robert, Susan and Marshall Cornelius who are embraced as family; her brother Thomas Waring (Leonardtown, MD) and his family; her sister-in-law Nelly Key Thompson (Newport News, VA) and multiple generations of godchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Visitation will be at Mattingly Funeral Home (Leonardtown) on Friday, February 16, 2018 from 5:00pm – 8:00pm, with prayers at 7:00pm. The burial service and internment of ashes will be on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 11:00am at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Valley Lee.
George Swann Barnes
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