Obituary: Zane Barnes: emeritus trustee, 82

Zane E. Barnes, a University trustee from 1975-1985, died Friday, Jan. 9, 2004, at his St. Louis home of complications from a fall in 2001. He was 82.

Barnes was a St. Louis civic and business leader credited with building Southwestern Bell into a telecommunications empire.

A native of Marietta, Ohio, Barnes graduated in 1947 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Marietta College. He served as a navigator in the Navy in World War II.

Barnes began his career with the Bell system in 1941 as a lineman for Ohio Bell Telephone Co. He began his climb in the business, holding several positions in the company’s plant department before he was transferred in 1960 to AT&T headquarters in New York.

Four years later, he was named vice president and general manager of the Oregon operations for Pacific Northwest Bell in Portland, Ore. He became company president in 1970.

In 1973, Barnes moved to St. Louis to become president of Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., and within a year he was named chief executive officer.

He became president and chief executive officer of Southwestern Bell Corp., now SBC Communications Inc., in 1983 and retired in 1989.

In addition to his business accomplishments, Barnes was an active player in St. Louis’ civic community. He had been a member of Civic Progress and a board member for the United Way of Greater St. Louis, where he had served as campaign chairman and president.

He also was a regional board member of the Boy Scouts of America and a member of both its local and national councils.

His contributions to the community were noted in the many awards he received, including the Boy Scouts’ Silver Antelope Award and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith Americanism Award.

Barnes is survived by his wife, Lu L. Barnes; son, Zane E. Barnes Jr.; daughters, Shelley Donaho and Frances Barnes; stepdaughter, Cindi Allen; and six grandchildren.

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