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Big Jim honored with soccer field
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The family of the late Jimmy Barnes gathered around the sign for the field dedicated in his memory at Pistole Park last Wednesday. Pictured, from left, are son-in-law Scott Walker, daughter Rebecca Walker, grandson Henry Walker, son Jimmy Barnes Jr., grandson Mason Mu, grandson Ben Walker, granddaughter Emma Walker, wife Paula Barnes, daughter Jennifer Mu, granddaughter Maddie Mu, and son-in-law Mike Mu. - photo by Bethany Porter
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McMinnville Mayor Ryle Chastain, left, helps Jimmy Barnes Jr. unveil the sign at the field dedicated to Jimmy “Big Jim” Barnes at Pistole Park. - photo by Bethany Porter

A crowd of friends and family gathered around Field 5 at Pistole Park last Wednesday for a field dedication ceremony for Jimmy Barnes Sr.

Barnes passed away from COVID-19 nearly a year ago and his family and the community wanted to do something to memorialize him. He was a big presence in the soccer community, so city officials thought a field dedicated to him would be fitting. McMinnville Mayor Ryle Chastain started the ceremony by saying a few words about Barnes. 

“I think this is a great tribute to a fellow member of our community,” said Chastain. “The support for this was overwhelming and unanimous and I am glad we can finally make it happen today. It has been in the works for a little while. Big Jim was a very active member of the community. He was a business owner, he was a father, and he was a husband.”

The sign was unveiled with the help of Barnes’ son Jimmy Barnes Jr., who then said a few words about his father and expressed his gratitude for the field dedication. 

“On behalf of the family, I want to thank everyone who made this possible today,” said Jimmy Jr. “This means so much to all of us. I don’t have the words to express the gratitude for this. Our dad wasn’t a coach like Ben (Banerjee), but anytime Ben ever called on him he was there willing and ready to coach practices, games, whatever he could do to help.”

Jimmy Jr. went on to speak about how his father was always willing to help out the soccer community in any way he could and was always able to inspire those around him. 

“My dad’s biggest contribution was that he was a fan of the game and he was really a fan of what I would say was the golden generation of soccer in McMinnville,” said Jimmy Jr. “The six years there when we really had a good run, dad was part of our team. He was there. He was one of us. He is probably the only person to ever be a booster president that actually called a press conference to step down for my senior year to enjoy soccer. He was that involved he said he just wanted to watch the games and he couldn’t do it my senior year and just wanted to enjoy the games.” 

“Big Jim” will now forever be a part of the soccer community he loved and contributed to throughout the years. Jimmy Jr. believes his father would really appreciate this tribute.

“I know today is a special day for him and I know he sees this and that means the world to me,” said Jimmy Jr.