Mar 25, 2011, BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - Birmingham Municipal Judge David Barnes died this
Judge Barnes was appointed to municipal court in the 1980s and had also served as
Judge Barnes' brother, longtime Water Works Board member Anthony Barnes, said the
judge was dedicated to both his wife and his law work.
"He loved the city and always respected the system," Anthony Barnes said. "I ran into a lot of people who had gone before David and they all said the judge was firm but he was fair with them. He was passionate toward his work."
Anthony Barnes said his brother was on dialysis but still went to work until recently following the illness and death of his wife, Erma, last week. The judge's health deteriorated rapidly after her death and he was hospitalized this week. The couple was married 44 years and had three children.
"Even when he was disabled with dialysis he would still go to the courtroom every day," Anthony Barnes said. "His wife was his major caregiver and she took care of him until she wasn't able to care for him. He was just a person who believed in a work ethic."
Judge Barnes met his wife while at Miles College. He was an Army Veteran who went
to Miles college before earning his law degree at Texas Southern University.
"Coming out of Collegeville, he rose above his means and lot of people's expectations," Anthony Barnes said, recalling the family's pride when his brother announced his entry into law school.
Birmingham Mayor William Bell called Judge Barnes' death both a personal loss and
a loss for the city.
"It was particularly a sad situation since he had just buried his wife this past Saturday," Bell said. "He was a proud son of Collegeville and always let people know he was born and raised in Collegeville. He will be deeply missed."
Outside the courtroom, Anthony Barnes described his brother as an often serious man but one who was patient and understanding, even under pressure. That includes the times Anthony Barnes wrecked his brother's cars twice when as young driver.
"I was scared to go home but David told me, 'Don't worry about that. I can get another car and I can get that fixed, but I can't get another brother,'" he recalled. "He said those were just material things. He wasn't all into material things but he loved people and he loved God."