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Pearl S. Barnes, of Silver Spring, Md., passed away peacefully of natural causes at her daughter’s home in Ellicott City on April 7, 2018. She was 104.
Pearl was born in Grundy, Virginia on November 16, 1913. She was the last to survive of her 12 siblings. William and Luella Phillips moved their family to Westminster, Md when Pearl was entering her teens. She and her sisters, known as the Phillips Sisters Trio, traveled throughout the county singing at various functions and on a Baltimore radio station. The sisters had once been asked by a talent scout to perform at Radio City Music Hall, which they declined because they were busy teenagers. Pearl was active in both church and school, becoming the editor of the Westminster High School yearbook and performing in school productions. After graduating, she moved to Washington D.C. where she worked in the mapping department for National Geographic. As her career advanced, she worked as a lab technician for the National Bureau of Standards. In this position she worked her way up to becoming the Executive Secretary for the Deputy Director of Consumer Product Safety Commission. She proudly retired from the government after 25 years of service.
Pearl had many interests and accomplishments throughout her life. Beyond her professional career, church activities were always a central part of Pearl’s life. Keene Bible Class, church retreats, bible studies, square dancing, writing music and even poetry were activities she loved. She sang in many church choirs and served on numerous committees. In 1986 she joined the Silver Spring Women’s Club. It was in this role that she volunteered her time managing their thrift shop and assisted organizing various social events. She served as co-chairwoman of the SSWC choral group where she was also a strong alto. Always young at heart, Pearl enjoyed costume parties, where she and her husband often came in first place. Pearl traveled extensively with family and friends. Europe, South America, Alaska, Bermuda and throughout the United States were among her destinations.
Pearl outlived both of her husbands, marrying Roy Simmons in 1941 and Charles Barnes in 1966. She is survived by her daughter, Judy Gnagey of Ellicott City, MD, and son, Eugene Barnes of Westminster, MD. She is predeceased by her son, William S. Simmons. Pearl has 7 grandsons, William and Andrew Gnagey, Mark, Tim, Dan and Joel Schaefer, and Chuck Barnes. She was predeceased by her daughter, Dorothy Schaefer of Hanover, PA, and granddaughter, Sheryl Walker. Her 17 great-grandchildren are John and Ella Gnagey, Eli, Kaytia, Elli, Tarah, Clinton and Savanah Schaefer, Casie Krop, CJ, Jacob, Jared and Brittany Barnes, Carrie, Braden, Eric and Rachelle Walker. Also surviving Pearl are 5 nieces, Lu Marletta, Barbara Stanzak, Carol Young, Gaynell Loder and Diane Whittington, and a nephew, Jack Phillips.
Services will be held at the Presbyterian Church of the Atonement, 10613 Georgic Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20902. Dates to be advised. Interment will follow in Parklawn Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please feel free to donate to Pearl’s church listed above or Gilchrist Hospice of Howard County, 5537 Twin Knolls Road, Suite 434, Columbia, MD 21045
Gilchrist Center of Howard County
5537 Twin Knolls Rd. #433, Columbia MD 21045
Presbyterian Church of the Atonement