Esmond Barnes Jr., was born on March 25, 1944 in Eutaw, Alabama to Sam and Mattie Barnes. He received his early education in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, graduating from Druid High School, in May 1962. Esmond moved to Brooklyn, New York in October 1962 for education and employment opportunities. Upon arriving in Brooklyn he held many different jobs and attended Brooklyn College in an effort to go higher and achieve his purpose in life. He carried in his heart and mind the 23rd Psalm, which has sustained him throughout his life.
Esmond was in the United States Army from November 1966 through November 1968. After his discharge, he returned to the workforce and back to Brooklyn College, as a part-time night student. Continuing to search for his purpose, he graduated from Brooklyn College in June 1977 with a BA degree in Sociology, received his Masters degree in Education in June 1996 and became licensed by the State of New York in 1998 as a School Counselor (kindergarten through adult). He was employed by the City of New York Police Department from October 1969 to November 1996 as a Civilian Payroll Supervisor and by the City of New York Department of Education from November 1996 through August 2011 as a Licensed School Counselor in District 75 (a district dedicated to serving children with special needs.) Esmond officially retired from the workforce in August 2011 after postponing it several times as he had promised several students he would not retire until they graduated in June 2011.
He was married to Romell D. Johnson from September 1964 until she transitioned in May 2002. He came to St. Paul Community Baptist Church in May 2002 seeking answers to spiritual questions after the death of his wife. He met with Rev. Brawley (then SPCBC Assistant Pastor) for about an hour and it was an enlightening experience. Through this meeting, he knew SPCBC was where he belonged. He started attending service on a regular basis and joined in November 2006 by way of Christian Experience.
In 2006 he met his present wife Lillie Yvonne Wilson-Barnes (whom he affectionately always called Ms. Lillie) in a computer class. They did not know at the time that they both attended St. Paul Community Baptist Church 8:00 o'clock service. On June 11, 2006, after playing hard to get, Ms. Lillie and Esmond started dating. They have enjoyed traveling to 5 Continents, almost every Caribbean Island and over 40 states in the United States. His greatest joy after 3 tries was traveling to Israel and being baptized in the Jordan River in 2016. He also helped Rev. Hammond of Durham, NC baptize 15 people including Ms. Lillie. He enjoyed his casino trips, lottery scratch offs, butter pecan ice cream, Reese's peanut butter cups, and good southern cooking, especially fried smothered chicken backs.
Esmond was an avid supporter of the Imagine Me Leadership Charter School (IMLCS), St. Paul's all-boys partner-in-education. He served as a Board member, traveling several times to Washington, DC, Albany, New York and throughout the five boroughs of New York City to lobby for charter schools.
Since becoming a member of SPCBC, he was elected the second President of the Simeon Guild Ministry, and has served as a member of the Gatekeeper Ministry, African Justice Ministry, Black Men Who Quilt, Eldad-Medad Bible Study, Cancer Support Group, and the Male Choir. He served as a mentor for young boys grades 1 through 5 at IMLCS. Esmond has been a mentor and positive influence in the lives of his nieces, nephews and great-nephews as well as other children.
He is survived by his wife Lillie Yvonne Wilson-Barnes; niece Taresa Barnes-Alexander (Phillip), LaGrange, GA; nephews Nathan Barnes (Stephanie), Kenneth Barnes of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Adrian Johnson of Brooklyn, NY; adopted children Kevin Alexander of Norfolk VA, Michael Alexander of Brooklyn, NY, Brain Alexander (Denise) of Riverdale, GA, Karl Bishop (Kandi) of Roebuck, SC, Arthur Bishop of New Orleans, LA, Doris Vasser of Lakeland, FL, Parthinia Williams, Carolyn Williams, Curtis Williams (Marie) of East Peoria, IL, Beverly and Gerald Williams of Brooklyn, NY; brothers-in-law William and Kenneth Wilson of Jacksonville, FL; 15 grandchildren, 7 great grand children and a host of cousins and friends.