In Memory of




Obituary for John Carl Barnum

The Rev. John Carl Barnum, 92, died Sept. 14, 2022, at Colby, Kansas, where he had lived since Oct. 2012.

He was born Sept. 6, 1930, in Kalispell, Mont., the son of the Rev. G. William Barnum and Julia Sophia Feldhusen Barnum. He had seven older siblings: Ruth, Grace, Jean, Bill, Julia, Mary, and Dorothy. He was baptized by his pastor father in the Kalispell Presbyterian Church as an infant.

Following graduation from Litchfield High School in Montana, Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn. and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, John was ordained on on June 8, 1955 to the ministry at First Presbyterian Church in Eureka Springs, Ark., where his father was pastor. That summer he served as Mobile Minister to a group of scattered people north east of Missoula, Montana, with the understanding that he would be back the following summer. In the fall, while obtaining his Master’s degree in Christian Education from McCormick Seminary, John began working with a group of interested people in Champaign, Ill., and helped organize the Community Presbyterian Church, now known as Westminster.

John spent the next 10 years in Montana, organizing and serving the Blackfoot Presbyterian Parish, consisting of churches in Seeley Lake, Ovando and Potomac, each church separated by 30 miles. He then moved to Ft. Collins, Colo. to become Mobile Minister to five churches in northern Colorado; Livermore, Virginia Dale, Poudre Valley, Red Feather Lakes and Glendevy.

On December 30, 1965, John Barnum and Shirley Davis were united in marriage at Wellshire Presbyterian Church in Denver. In addition to being a new husband, John became an instant father to Grant, Evan, and Scott, whom he legally adopted in 1966. The Barnums lived in Ft. Collins before moving to Boulder, Colo., to serve Valmont Community Presbyterian Church. After five years there he served 10 years at Colby Presbyterian Church, Colby, Kansas, then almost 15 years in the Harper County Presbyterian Parish (Harper, Hopewell-Anthony, and Corwin) and eight years at Viola United Presbyterian Church at Viola, Kansas, all southwest of Wichita.

After his wife, Shirley, graduated from Phillips Theological Seminary at Enid, Okla. in 1988, they became co-pastors of the churches. John retired in 1997 and they moved to Viola, then Wichita before returning to Colby in 2012.

His parents, all seven of his siblings and a son, Scott, of Colby, pre-deceased him. He is survived by his wife Shirley, Colby; two sons, Dr. Grant Barnum (Carol), Osage Beach, Mo., Evan (Regena), Colby; Scott’s wife Janice, (Colby); seven grandchildren: Cheryl Ellison, Grant, Jr., Julie, Christopher, David, Amanda and Matthew, and three great-grandchildren; Mira, Sterling and Danielle, several nieces, nephews and cousins.

Services will be at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, September 24 at the Colby First Presbyterian Church, 515 W Fourth St, Colby, KS 67701, with visitation following the service.

Memorials in lieu of flowers may be sent to the church or the Alzheimer's Association.