On June 28, 2001, Barney Price, a gospel preacher for almost half a century, slipped quietly into the chilling waters of the misty Jordan and crossed over to the other side to his eternal home of the soul. Barney Crafton Price was born in Lamar County, Alabama near the town of Vernon, April 23, 1925. He was next to the youngest of ten children (eight boys and two girls) born to James R. and Ada Price. Of the the, only two are now living, my mother, Clora (Price) Hester age 93 of Vernon and Ernest Price age 80 of Vernon.
Barney served in the U.S. Army during World War Two in New Guinea and the Philippines. After returning from the war, he married Annie Grace Brown and to this union were born two sons, Carlos and Crafton. Dr. Carlos Glenn Price is Superintendent of Education in Hope, Arkansas and Crafton Lynn Price is Manager of Information Systems Services for Americana Ships in Tampa, Florida and also volunteers as the Youth Minister for the Bell Shoals Church of Christ in Brandon, Florida. Annie Grace lives in the family home on Buck Jackson Road near Vernon.
Barney and Anne have four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The grandchildren are Jimmy Lynn, Christopher Lee, and Jason Crafton, the sons of Crafton, and Amanda Joy, the daughter of Carlos.
Jimmy works for the Time Warner Special Projects as a Computer Specialist. Christopher works for Watkins Trucking as a computer programmer and also goes to college at night. Jason goest to Florida State University on full scholarship. Amanda Joy is a teacher at Fordyce, Arkansas High School (hometown of the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant). The two great grandchildren are Haley Alexandria and Marcus James, the children of Jimmy and his wife Tina (Hodges) Price.
Barney was baptized by the late brother G.R. Dobbs in August 1949. He began preaching in May, 1954, preaching his first sermons on Mother's Day at his home congregation of Mt. Olive, where his mother was in the audience. "Mama Price" was so happy and overjoyed that her boy had started preaching that she could hardly speak at all, but just kept laughing. Different people show their joy in different ways; Mama Price always laughed when she was happy!
From that Mother's Day in 1954 onward Barney stayed busy preaching. Shortly after he began preaching I heard him preach at the Crossroads Church of Christ in Jasper, Alabama. His subject was, "The Dying Words Of Jesus on the Cross." That was one of the very best and touching sermons I have ever heard. he attended Mississippi State and studied under brother Gus Nichols in his "preacher training" classes. He has told me often over the years that my father, S.F. Hester, was one of the best sources of encouragement in preaching. I know that Daddy was just as proud of him as he was of his own four preaching sons.
Barney served rural congregations in Lamar, Marion, Fayette and Walker Counties in Alabama 1954-57. In 1957 he and his family moved to Warrior, Alabama working with the church there 1957-60. He preached in Eunice, Louisiana 1960-63; Vidor, Texas 1963-65; Princeton, Indiana 1965-71; Caledonia, Mississippi 1971-78. Because of problems he was having with his eyes while at Caledonia he "retired" and move back to Vernon where he and Anne purchased a cafe. Of course no preacher ever retires. While in the cafe business, he preached at Kingville, near Kennedy, in Lamar County 1979-83. Then he "filled in" at Houston, Mississippi for about eight months in 1984. Then 1986-2001 he preached for the Antioch Church of Christ just out of Vernon, preaching his last sermon at Antioch on Sunday before he died on Thursday. The title of his last sermons was, "Who Are The Faithful?" During his years of preaching he preached at every congregation in Lamar County except one, that being the Kingsville near the Lamar and Marion County line.
Barney had a great sense of humor and you could not be around him very long until he would have you laughing. Years ago he took the Dale Carnegie Public Speaking course and his instructors tried to get him to consider "show business" as a comedian. But his interest then, as it was for the rest of his life, was preaching the gospel.
On Sunday, July 1, at 2:00 p.m. my brother Benny and I conducted the funeral service in the Chandler Funeral Chapel in Vernon where hundreds came to pay their respects. Neither of us had a prepared funeral sermon, we did not need one, we just spoke from our hearts. His body was laid to rest in the Furnace Hill Cemetery to await the resurrection. Barney will be missed for years to come. I know I miss him. Ours was more of a brother/brother relationship than a nephew/uncle relationship. I would exchange Gospel Meeting with him, and shared sermon outlines with him. We would often sit up all night and talk.