Thomas Putnam Barnes


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Houlton and Augusta - Thomas Putnam Barnes died July 3, 2019, at Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta, Maine, after a courageous three year battle with cancer. Tom is the son of Forrest and Ann Barnes and grandson of George and Flora Barnes, all of Houlton, Maine, and Clyde and Josephine Jefferson of Flemmington, New Jersey.
Tom is survived by his father and mother; his two daughters, Aden, age eleven, and Suli, age six and a half; two step-daughters, Lyra and Willow; two brothers, Bob and his wife Susan of Colorado, and Andrew and Chelsea and their children, Andrew, Phineas, and Isabella, of Wayne, Maine; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and friends were able to visit with him at Togus.
Tom referred to himself as an entrepreneur, philosopher, and journalist. He was an avid reader, a truth-seeker, and a keen and compassionate observer of people and life. His primary goal was to be the best daddy to his two little girls, cherishing every moment with them. He was a member of First Baptist Church of Houlton. A gifted natural athlete, he played hockey and rode a unicycle including Fourth of July parades. He was a competitive long-distance runner and cyclist. He played trombone and drums. He was a clown and juggler, sailor, wind surfer, kayaker and canoeist, mountain climber, skier and hunter. He attended Hurricane Island Outward Bound School. Tom truly loved the outdoors and his spirit thrived in the woods, rivers, mountains and lakes of Maine.
Tom graduated from Houlton High School, Bridgton Academy, in Maine, and Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. After school he worked as a ski instructor in Colorado and as a photographer for Unicorn Whitewater Rafting, on the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers. He then enlisted and spent four years in the Regular Navy. He attended Basic Training in San Diego, language school in Monterey, California, and Communications School in Pensacola, Florida. He was then assigned to the Naval Communications Station at Winter Harbor, Maine, and also attended Cold Weather Survival School in Colorado. He was promoted to Second Class Petty Officer (E-5) and received an Honorable Discharge. After active duty he worked for three years as a CNA at Acadia Hospital in Bangor, Maine. He then worked for Senecal Construction Services as a skilled carpenter in all stages of building, construction and restoration, including construction and finish work on tugboats at Washburn & Doughty Shipyard at East Boothbay, under Senecal sub-contracts.
Tom died peacefully and comfortably and received wonderful care, especially from the medical and nursing staff in the hospice center at Togus and from Dr. Gregory Emmons, his oncologist and friend there. His faith in God sustained him throughout the final months, and his sense of humor and his own sense of caring for those who loved him comforted everyone who prayed for him, visited him or cared for him.
Donations to the Cary Library in Houlton or a charity of your choice can be made direct or through Bowers Funeral Home, 10 Water Street, Houlton, ME 04730. Celebration and Services will be announced at a later date. To share stories or leave condolences please visit
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Published on July 16, 2019
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4 posts

Carol and Ralph Cleale and family
Jul 17, 2019
So sorry to hear of your loss. Can still see him riding down Main St. on the Fourth of July on his unicycle.
Kim H
Jul 17, 2019
You are a kind soul with a keen intellect. The way your mind worked was mesmerizing. My favorite memory is being in the middle of the lake in a canoe watching the stars and musing about life. Sleep well shining star.
Marybeth Foley
Jul 17, 2019
Forrest and family,
I'm so sorry to hear of Thomas's passing. May you find comfort in the company of friends and family, and in your memories at this time. My sincere condolences to you all.
Terri Boyd Duff
Jul 16, 2019
So sorry for your loss