, Muskogee, OK

October 11, 2012

James Yartubby Barnette

1926 - 2012

— James Yartubby Barnette, 86, passed from this life into the arms of Jesus on October 10, 2012.  He was born in Stidham, Oklahoma on May 6, 1926 to John Fuschata Barnette, an original enrollee of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and Eunice Barnette.  James was very proud of his Creek heritage.

He grew up and graduated from Central High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma, where he was an outstanding athlete excelling in baseball and football.  After graduation, he enlisted in the Army and served as an Infantry Scout during World War II.  After his discharge, he attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant where he met and married, Freda Burns in 1951.  

After graduation from SOSU, he taught art for 13 years at the junior and senior high schools in Woodward,  Oklahoma.  He then returned to Durant in 1966 to take a position as an art professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University specializing in pottery.  He retired in 1987 after teaching for 21 years at SOSU.  

During his life, he was an active member of the Lions Club, Southeastern Oklahoma State University Art Club, National Art Education Association, Oklahoma Education Association, National Education Association, and Kiwanis, where he lead the singing with gusto.  He was also a member of the Retired SOSU Faculty.

James was known for his sharp wit and sweet nature.  He was a very spiritual man, active in the church for over 60 years as an Elder,  Sunday School teacher, and  choir member.  His children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren cherish the memories of his philosophy, "Why buy it, we'll make it."  He made everything to include paper hats, Christmas ornaments, Christmas cards, pinatas, button wiz toys and puppets.  We always had plenty of round "tuits".

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, and one sister.  He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Doris Freda Barnette of Durant, Oklahoma, his sister Bonnie Jean Counts of Muskogee, Oklahoma, his children James Jerrel Barnette of Jacksonville, Florida (Allye), Paula Sue Hennessee of Blanchard, Oklahoma (Terry), Laura Ann Stewart of Ada, Oklahoma (Mike), John Arthur Barnette of Durant, Oklahoma (special friend Tiana Boehme),  special daughter Anita McCullough of Allen, Texas, grandsons Benjamin, Blake, Tyler, Lane, granddaughters Melissa, Shannon, Kerri, Casie, and 5 great-grandchildren.

Family night will be held on Friday, October 12th from 6pm to 7pm at the Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home.  Services will be held on Saturday, October 13th at 11 am at the Durant Community Christian Church.  Pallbearers are Joe Dillard, Matt Gregory, Gary Karr, Nate Morrison, and David Tucker.  Honorary Pallbearers are Mike McCoy, Ed Rice, Harold Haddock, and Max McClendon.    

Family and friends may send online condolences and view tributes at

Services are under the direction of Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home, Durant, Oklahoma.