Viola V. Barnes

viola barnes

December 20, 1920 ~ March 13, 2023

Viola Victoria Barnes (Vicky) of Leonia, NJ, born December 23, 1920, passed away peacefully on March 13, 2023.

Vicky is predeceased by her parents, James and Zoila Barnes, her brothers James and Charles, and her sister, Anne Devol.

She was born in La Ceiba, Honduras, CA to American citizens of Honduran and Canadian descent. She grew up in Cuba and came to the United States in 1936 when she was 16. She regaled us with stories of her family's life in Cuba.

Vicky moved to Highbridge, Bronx, NY from Manhattan, NY, when her parents and sister and brother did, and they all had apartments in the same building. She then moved to Forest Hills, Queens, and when her sister's husband died moved to Leonia, NJ where all the rest of the family had settled. She moved into Leonia's Retirement Housing in 2005 and absolutely loved living there. She was an enthusiastic attendee at the parties they regularly held.

She never married or had children of her own but had a slew of boyfriends who she loved to go dancing with. She adored her nieces and nephews, Lori and Richie, Jimmy, Jane and Mike, Richie and Brenda, and grand nieces and nephews, Elizabeth, Christina, Tammer, and James. She was all about "the family". Her greatest joy was at the age of 81 being asked to care for a friend's baby boy, David, while his mom worked. She really enjoyed taking him to the park.

Vicky embraced her Honduran heritage and was proud to be the niece of the former president of Honduras from 1949 to 1954, Juan Manuel Galvez. President Galvez brought long awaited civil liberties and order to a country that had been under a dictatorship for the previous 16 years.

Viola worked as an Executive Secretary for copy writers and creative services at several advertising agencies until her retirement in 1993 after 10 years at Kornhauser/Calene/Partners & Shevack. She was noted for her master of shorthand and her typing skills. She also worked for a very famous architect who was notorious for the way he treated his employees. This came to a head when he verbally abused one of them and the victim, knowing that Vicky had overheard the tirade, apologized because she had to listen to it. She told her friend that if that ever happened to her, she would never stand for it because if she allowed the architect to do that once, he would continue to do it. Several days later the architect yelled at her for not smiling, shocked at the absurdity of the remark, she said that's it, and true to her word she left the job.

She graced a page of the 5/16/1955 issue of Life Magazine in a full-page ad for Franco-American Spaghetti.

She was a poet and a member of the Leonia Poets Society when it was active. She delighted in bringing Hispanic poets to the attention of the group. Vicky attended "World of Poetry" conventions all over the country and immensely enjoyed the camaraderie of the fellow poets. She wrote over 300 poems for her own enjoyment, on topics from family to nature and with every family birth or death she shared her thoughts with us in verse.

She never gave up her love of New York and of her native language of Spanish and read the New York Post and El Diario daily; with a magnifying glass when her eyesight worsened.

She had a great faith in God and attended mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on her lunch hour when she worked near there and then when she moved to Leonia, St. John's. She prayed the rosary every day, with a decade set aside for each part of the family.

In her own words:

Thank You Father in Heaven

(by V. V. Barnes – 6/2/1979)

Thank you Father

In Heaven

For teaching me

What Love is

Forgiving me

My sins

Time after time.

After time.

For mending my heart

Every time it was broken

For lifting my spirits

When I felt low

For allowing me at thy table

To share the Holy Bread

That heals my soul

Strengthens my body

From head

To toe

Thank you Father for yesterday



In lieu of flowers a donation to St. John the Evangelist Church, 235 Harrison St, Leonia, NJ 07605 or Primetime Center Brick, 485 Brick Blvd, Brick, NJ 08723 Att: Catie Broglia (Primetime is an adult day program for the developmentally disabled) is suggested. Please mention her name if donating.


Mass: March 18, 2023 10:00 am

St. John R. C. Church
Broad & Harrison Avenue
Leonia, NJ 07605

Final Resting Place: March 18, 2023 11:30 am

George Washington Memorial Park.
Paramus & Century Roads
Paramus, NJ 07653-0021

View current weather.

Memories Timeline

Sign the Guestbook, Light a Candle