Annette Bell Barnes


Annette Bell Barnes, 85, transitioned to her heavenly home on November 24, 2021. Annette was born in Central City, KY, moved to Indianapolis with her family when she was a baby, but was a resident of Columbus, Indiana for the last 40 years. Annette married at age 19 and, at one time had 5 children under the age of 6.

Family was her legacy. With her children and grandchildren, sprinkled from coast to coast and in between, a day did not pass that she did not speak to one of them. She instilled in each of them the importance of family through her actions and well-known words: “If you have nothing else, you have your family.”

At age 37, Annette navigated an unexpected turn in her life when she became a single mother. At the time, her children ranged in age from 9 to 15. Even though her attention was now split between children and work, Annette still seemed to know what her kids were up to – mom-approved or not. She told her children that she had eyes in the back of her head and could see everything. They were skeptical, but she did have a look that could immediately get their attention. Her secret disciplinary arsenal included sending the children to the smallest bathroom in the house to resolve amongst themselves any controversy. The offender was to come forward; otherwise, all would share in the same punishment. So, when the youngest inevitably confessed to said offense, Annette could easily see that the youngest had been put up to it. Maybe her eyes were everywhere.

In 1981 Annette moved to Columbus, Indiana, when she married Delmar Barnes who worked for Cummins Inc. There, she worked for a bank, and, following her servant heart, became a volunteer at the local hospital.

Annette’s commitment to her community was seemingly endless. Her dedication to service and advocacy, specifically to and for the marginalized was an outgrowth of her faith and relationship with God and manifested through the countless nonprofit boards and community councils on which she served. Yet, she felt God called her to do more. So while still working, she went back to school and earned her Masters of Divinity degree from Christian Theological Seminary in 1994 and then became an ordained minister. Following her graduation, she was on staff at CTS for many years and then became a chaplain for St. Francis Hospital, work she found to be the most challenging and fulfilling of her life. Annette’s compassion had a way of helping others in fully experiencing whatever it was they were going through – whether it be the joys of marriage or the grief of loss.

In her final days, Annette was encircled with many friends and family members who showed up day in and day out to keep her company, warm her heart and uplift her spirit. Often times, it seemed like you might need to take a number to see her. The family is indebted to the amazing Four Seasons staff that provided her consistent attentive care and support.

She is survived by her 5 children, Earle Robinson, III, Kenneth Robinson, Diane Robinson King, Timothy Robinson (Ellen) and Michelle Robinson Smith (Lance), stepson, Michael Barnes (Tammy), stepdaughter, Cynthia Barnes, 11 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Her husband, Delmar Barnes, her parents, Theodore and Ruby Bell, and a brother, William Bell, preceded her in death.

Memorial contributions can be made to Advocates for Children or the Columbus Mill Race Center.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, December 4, 2021, at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, Father Chris Wadelton will be the celebrant. A live stream of the Funeral Mass may be viewed at Family and friends may gather for visitation from 4-7 p.m. Friday, December 3, 2021, at Barkes, Weaver &Glick Funeral Home on Washington Street.

Online condolences: