Comporium Vice Chairman Ed Barnes Passes Away

Comporium Vice Chairman Ed Barnes Passes Away

On Sunday afternoon, Comporium said goodbye to a veteran employee, a shareholder, and a longtime friend, Edwin L. Barnes.  

Passing away on his 92nd birthday, Ed Barnes will leave behind a multitude of family, friends and colleagues with fond memories of a quiet, extremely intelligent and spiritual man.  He was a man who valued family and community and a man who understood the importance leading a life of service and dedication.  Even into his nineties, he still kept office hours as his health would allow.

Growing up on Marion Street in Rock Hill, Barnes left home in 1942 to attend Clemson Military College until war temporarily closed the college in1944.  He then joined the Navy, serving as a Midshipman until World War II ended.  Barnes finished his undergraduate degree at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1946.  In August of that same year, he began his 71-year career at Comporium, then the Rock Hill Telephone Company.

At Comporium, Barnes began his career as an Accounting Manager, progressing through several roles from Commercial Manager to Vice President.  Eventually he assumed the role of Vice Chairman of the Board for Comporium.  Ed Barnes also served as a president and director of the South Carolina Telephone and Broadband Association.  He also played a vital role on the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies’ (OPASTCO) Operator Services Committee.  Additionally, Barnes served on various committees of the United States Telephone Association.  In 2002, he was inducted into the South Carolina Telephone Hall of Fame. The Independent Telephone Pioneers Association inducted him into their hall of fame in 2016.

“Ed was a mentor to me and he was one of the major reasons I came to Comporium. He expressed confidence in me early in my career, while I was working for OPASTCO, and convinced me that Rock Hill would be a good fit,” stated Matthew Dosch, Comporium’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. “To simply say he’ll be missed falls short of reality.  I know though, that the energy and the work that he invested in this company and in this community will leave a lasting legacy.”

Outside of Comporium, Barnes led a quiet, yet full personal life.  He married Louise Barron in 1957 and the couple has three children, Susan Ellis and Frances Elliott, both of Greenville, and Edwin Barnes, Jr., of Charlotte.  Ed and Louise also have six grandchildren.  Ed was a member and a founder of Westminster Presbyterian Church and an active member of Comporium’s volunteer group, the Pioneer Club.  He was a believer of the value of education, particularly in the areas of science, engineering and technology.  Barnes was a longtime member of the leadership of York Technical College.

Barnes’ thoughtful insights, smiling face, and warm character will be greatly missed.

In honor of Ed Barnes’ memory, all flags at Comporium facilities, which already have been lowered in honor of the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas, will remain at half-staff for the remainder of this week.

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