Friends and family remembered D. Douglas Barnard Jr. as “a servant who taught others to serve” at a funeral service Monday for the former U.S. Congressman.
Barnard, 95, served eight terms from 1977 to 1993 representing Georgia’s 10th District from Augusta. He died Thursday after a period of declining health.
Retired Chief Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet was certain Barnard, who was a Democrat throughout his House career, was “working both sides of the aisle in heaven,” as he did often in life, always seeking “new friends,” even among political opponents he’d just defeated at the polls.
Outside his political career, Overstreet said Barnard was a driving, behind-the-scenes spirit for Augusta, at times serving on 13 different community boards, who always felt a “duty to his community” instilled in him as a child. Attorney David Bell said Barnard was a devoted mentor who always made young people feel special and important, and was known to open doors for them, while also loving and supporting his own family dearly.
At the end of his 16 years in Congress, Barnard came home, to his same friends and his church, First Baptist, where he was known to attract a small crowd who just wanted to shake his hand, Bell said.
“He had time for us,” Bell said. “Through us he lives,” serving as an inspiration for all to “cross the aisle and be nice to everybody.”
Barnard, a lawyer and banker, became the first Congress member from Augusta in 72 years when he defeated Mike Padgett for the seat in 1976. As a senior member of the House Banking Committee, Barnard devoted much of his career to restructuring banking regulations and was viewed as an authority by both parties.
The service, which included a presentation of colors by the Fort Gordon honor guard, taps and a solo, “How Great Thou Art,” drew numerous local dignitaries including 12th Congressional District Congressman Rick Allen, who’d praised Barnard’s “work across the aisle” and called him a legend. Former Congressman John Barrow said he tried to emulate Barnard, who was “most effective when he was working across the aisle.”