The first impact was disbelief . . .
William Barnes


When I was twenty-two years old in the spring of 1939, World War II was in progress in Europe, unsettling but seemingly far away. I had enrolled at the University of California, Davis to major in Animal Husbandry.
Two years later, in June 1941, after graduating, I was hired by the university as an official milk tester for six dairy breed assosiations: Holstein, Jersey, Guernsey, Ayeshire, Brown Swiss, and Milking Shorthorn cattle.
On Sunday, December 7, I was supervising the milking of the cows on an official test at the Leo Coppini Dairy in Ferndale, Humboldt County, California. After the testing, I attended church with the Coppini family and after the services returned to the ranch and learned of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

As I dimly recall, the first impact was disbelief and then a sinking feeling that we would be in the war. Then I thought of what my mother, my brothers, Bob and Jack would be feeling.

After completing the testing at the Coppini dairy I drove 150 miles to Mendocino State Hospital for the next test, thinking of what the future held for my family and all the other families in our country. On my drive from the dairy to my next text, I stopped for gasoline in Garberville. The attendant mentioned that a reserve officer near town had been called up and he needed to find a home for his two hunting dogs, a Llewellan Setter and a Springer Spaniel. I contacted the officer and ended up taking his dogs. One I gave away at the Mendocino hospital; the other I kept for a year until I enlisted, and then sold her to a hunter for 4125.



William Barnes was born on February 22, 1917, in Kansas City, Missouri, at one a.m. One year later his parents moved to Seattle, Washington, where his father, a brass moulder, helped make propellors for battleships. The family lived in Washington for eight years, then moved to Oakland California until 1935, when they moved to Phillipsville, California, where Bill graduated from South Fork Union High School in 1936.
He returned to Oakland, California, and worked in the California Division of Highways in Livermore from 1937 to 1939. He then attended the University of California, Davis, until 1942, when he enlisted in Air Force Air Transport Command and was stationed at Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico, until 1945.
Bill married Edwina L. Chase on March 28, 1945, while on leave. After the war he returned to UC-Davis through 1947. He then took a position with Alameda County as Dairy Herdsman and later as Farm Manager. In 1953 he bought his own dairy near Gerber, California, in Tehama County. He then left his own dairying to work for the California Department of Agricutlure as Livestock Inspector in Redding. He held that position for twenty-six years before retiring in 1979. Bill and Edwina had three daughtors. Carolyn and Leah live in Corning, California, and Elaise is a librarian for the Yuba College Branch in Lower Lake, California. Bill has lived in Reno since 1991.





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