Huntington, WV Black History

LeRoy Barnes

Musician, Minister, Custodian

Leroy Alphonso Barnes (aka Lee) was a lifelong resident of Huntington who used his musical talents and dedication to his faith to lift the Fairfield community.

Lee was born on December 25, 1946, to the late Albert Noyes Tisder Sr. and Rushia Pearl James-Barnes. He started started serving as a mentor and custodian at a young age, having to leave Catholic school in the 3rd grade. He found himself doing repairs around the house for his grandmother and took on the responsibility of raising and disciplining younger family members as well as young people throughout the Fairfield community.

Lee had a passion for all types music and playing different instruments. He would sit down and teach anyone who was willing to learn any instrument. He was known for playing the bass, lead guitar, organ, keyboard and piano at church. He also played the drums, congo, bongo, horns and string instruments.

Lee joined The Original Glorious Church of God In Christ under the late Bishop Graves, where he had the honor to play and minister on the bass and keys alongside Bishop Charles Shaw and the late Dorsey Bass. As a member of 1516, Lee accepted the call to preach the gospel. He spoke at different engagements and services.

In 1980, Lee found employment with Barnett Child Care Center, where he worked as the only custodian and repair man. He obtained permission from the director of Barnett at the time to teach music to the youth and teach them repair work. An old Barnett yearbook features a photo of Lee building a child-sized playhouse for the kids who attended the center.

In the 1990s, Lee became a member of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Reginald Hill. There, he was given the opportunity to start a Saturday morning prayer group and a praise and worship team. He went on to play bass for the choirs and sometimes the lead guitar. He also participated in a prison ministry with the late Minister James Meyers.

In 1999, two years before Lee passed away, he was given one more assignment to have a community church service in front of his residents on 18th Street and 12th Avenue.

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