By Paul Blake
“Blessed are the dead which the In the Lord … that they may rest from their labors.”
It is my privilege to be allowed to remember, on paper, a gospel preacher who strongly influenced me to stand for truth and right. May all who were moved to faithful service by the example and teaching of brother Barney, express thanks to the Father in their very next prayer for such men as him.
Glenn O. Winland was born February 9, 1906 to James A. and Dorothy J. Winlond at Reader, West Virginia. A lifelong affinity for forming was acquired during his childhood. At age five, his father died and after his mother married John B. Whiteman, they moved to his very steep, hillside farm on Chiselfinger Ridge. At 11, they moved to a more profitable truck form on the fertile Ohio River bottom area at Steelton. In April of 1923, Glenn, being only 17, began working at the Windsor Power Plant (Ohio Power Company), near Beach Bottom. It was here that Glenn Winland was to receive the nickname that stuck with him for the rest of his life. It seems his co-workers felt he and his work partner bore a resemblance to “Barney & Sporkplug,” popular comic strip characters of that day. Although the nicknames were given in jest, “Barney” accepted his with humor and continued to use it. To this day, many express genuine surprise upon learning that “Barney” wasn’t really his name.
Laboring long and hard seemed to characterize Barney. Upon early retirement in 1960, he hod completed 46 years of work at the power plant. Since he was large and physically very strong, this job had never satisfied his need to expel energy. For 3 years he operated a dairy form ,at Triodelphia, beginning in the spring of 19A5. Next was the purchase of a Sohio service station/grocery store in Pleasant Grove, Ohio which he and the family operated for 10 years. At Pleasant Grove, he almost single handedly built a beautiful little meeting house for saints to assemble in. Earlier, he had had a large role in the restoration of two buildings – making fine meeting houses for Christians. He was a fully licensed auctioneer, a coon hunter, and a golfer. An avid Scrabble player, he would shun any game that even bore a remote similarity to gambling. Barney often told me that honest Christians should studiously avoid any practice, even in private recreation, that was questionable.
On June 20, 1927, Barney was united in marriage with Vaughn Rice In Now Martinsville, WV. It was Vaughn who was most responsible for Barney coming to know the Lord. He had been raised in the Methodist Church and was actually quite rebellious when she would even suggest that he attend worship with her. With help from her sister and brother-inlaw, Ruth and Byron Hudson, Vaughn finally talked Barney into attending a gospel meeting at the Wheeling church with brother Fred E. Dennis preaching. He heard the truth taught and was baptized into Christ by brother Dennis on March 29, 1934 in this, his very first meeting to attend. To the marriage union of Barney and Vaughn were born 3 children: Connie Beck, Joe, and Lois Brown. Connie and Lois both presently live in the Dayton, OH area where Connie is a faithful member of the West Carrollton church. Joe, a retired public school music teacher, travels about in an Airstream trailer helping congregations to improve their singing and teaching them new hymns. He is presently worshiping with the Wellsburg church while attending to the disposition of Barney’s estate.
Vaughn died in 1971 after 44 years of marriage. Barney married Lina Ritchea at Paden City, WV on July 21, 1972 and was devoted to her until her passing in January, 1984. The lost three years of Lino’s life, Barney was strenuously involved in attending to her physical needs and after her death was very lonesome. Therefore, later that year, having always enjoyed being a family man, he began searching for someone with whom to spend the lost few years of his life. He placed great emphasis on godliness as one of the qualities he was looking for in a wife. On August 6, 1984, Barney married Velma Stobart of Pomeroy, OH, with whom he resided until he became too ill to stay at home. Barney was privileged to have his lost two wedding ceremonies performed by, and in the home of, Weldon Warnock, his long time friend and fellow servant in the Lord.
Of chief importance in the life of brother Winland was his desire to serve God and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Barney’s journal, he had worked with and preached meetings at over seventy different congregations in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Iowa. His first preaching appointment was at the Eight Mile Ridge Church of Christ on March 11, 1939 and his last was at the Westside Church of Christ in Pomeroy, Ohio on September 14, 1986, encompassing 47 years. Barney didn’t keep a “scorecard” of the number of people he baptized and restored to the kingdom; he believed the Lord would reward him according to his work. What we do have, are fond memories of how brother Winland touched our lives with the truth and motivated us to better service.
Barney was a big man and had a strong voice. Hard of hearing, elderly brethren, after hearing him preach for the first time, would often soy, “that was the first sermon I’ve heard in years.” When churches first began to install PA systems in their meeting houses, many of them would just leave theirs turned off when Barney came to preach – since he really didn’t need it; this was easier than trying to adjust out the “feedback” squeal!
The Wellsburg church has been a large part of Barney’s life, having served as part of the eldership twice: 1940-45 & and 1973-79. He was also their full-time located preacher from 1966 to 1969. His early Bible education was at the feet of such men as: Fred E. Dennis, Tom W. and George Butterfield, H.W. Bankes, Joe A. Taylor, H.M. Phillips, Clod Wallace and C.D. Plum to name just a few.
When the Institutional issues began to affect the OhioValley, Barney wasn’t easily persuaded that the dissension being caused was really necessary. Both Connie and Joe had tried to talk to him about these matters, but he wasn’t a man easily swayed. In 1966, Connie and her late husband, Al Beck, got her Dad to attend a meeting in Pisgah, OH where he heard brother Cecil Willis preach on “Specific and Generic Authority.” He returned home with a determination to find the truth on the matter and stand for It. Out of his own pocket, Barney paid to have brother Connie Adams come to Wellsburg In the fall of 1967 to preach a wook-ond meeting on the digressions. Shortly after that, the Wellsburg church cancelled all future meetings with known liberal preachers and has been standing for sound doctrine to this day.
One ovent that stands out in the minds of Christians in this area took place at the closing service of a gospel meeting, in the spring of 1969. Frank Higginbotham, in his last sermon, made mention of some who were going up and down the valley causing divisions in the Lord’s church with their preaching and he felt this should stop. Barney stood up after the lesson and in a kind but firm way stated that it was the digressions and innovations of liberal, modernistic thinking preachers and brethren which were causing divisions not the preaching of sound doctrine. This example of courage stirred a number of Christians in this valley to declare themselves on the Lord’s side.
Though all know Barney to be a man of conviction, I know him also to be a caring man. My first opportunity to meet brother Winland was on the occasion of my Interview for the work at Wellsburg. While Barney and I sat in the building that afternoon discussing the work, he spoke of the wayward and willfully negligent and began to cry in sadness over some who had recently died without repentance and about others who he feared might also. Among the lost words I heard him speak when I lost visited him in the personal care home in Racine, OH was concern for his children. Sandwiched in between were all the times he took me to visit the spiritually sick, trying to plead for them to open their eyes to the terminal plight of their soul. First and last, I believe Barney labored In the kingdom because he sincerely loved the souls of those he taught.
On September 16, 1986, Barney suffered a stroke that began the decline of his health. There was no warning – he had just plowed a field at his wife’s farm and was working on a broken steering shaft on the tractor when the stroke hit. With help, he made his way back to the house and later walked Into the hospital where, that night, he suffered another, more severe stroke. An early program of rehabilitation had him started back to his old self, but two additional strokes, congestive heart failure, and a few bouts with pneumonia kept him from recovering. On Sunday, June 5, 1988, brother Barney breathed his last breathe and went to his long home.
His funeral was conducted by Weldon Warnock, assisted by Mike Grushon and me. His son Joe led the congregational singing, using “Praise the Lord,”‘Where the Roses Never Fads,” and “Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All.” He was interred beside the grove of his first wife, Vaughn, at Holly Memorial Gardens In Pleasant Grove, Ohio.
Barney leaves behind beloved family members and door friends who will remember him and smile about his worm, boisterous sense of humor. After ooting large meals In homes of his brethren, he would invariably say, “I feel just as good after those few bites as if I had eaten a whole meal.” But the bit of humor I will remember was his insistence that his initials G.O. actually spelled “GO!” and that he always intended to do it!
The ranks of the laborers in the vineyard have been diminished by one – lot us determine to stop up into his place. G.O. “Barney” Winland’s example will speak to us down through the years. What will ours say to those we leave behind in death?
“Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them” (Rev. 14:13).
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 16, pp. 502-503
August 18, 1988