Real Funerals

Barney Buttons Pay Tribute to a Passionate Clown:
Jim "Barney" Barnes 1943-2007

As a Seafair Clown for 42 years, Jim "Barney" Barnes delighted crowds at Seafair parades and helped bring joy to countless patients at The Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center in Seattle. He was passionate about clowning and loved putting smiles on the faces of the sick and lonely.

After a four-year battle with cancer, Barnes died at the age of 64.

When planning the celebration of his life, his stepdaughter, Shannon Hoffmeister, came up with a fitting tribute to the man that had devoted so much of his life to making others smile. Working with her husband, a graphic designer, they designed buttons to hand out at the service. The button has a warm cartoon portrayal of Barnes as his clown persona, "Barney", and reads, "1943 - still clownin' ."

A company they found online,, was able to produce the buttons with a quick turn around. They ordered 500 buttons at $0.40 each.

"The Seafair Clowns always make an annual button," said Hoffmeister. "A lot of clowns wear the buttons on their costumes, so it was a way for my dad to still be part of the clowns."

Everyone attending the service took a button, and most people wore them, agreeing it was a great way to remember Barnes. Hoffmeister said that sharing the buttons with everyone was a great experience. "It was perfect for my dad and celebrated a part of who he was that made everyone smile."

Learn more about the Seafair Clowns: