I Am Wilshire: Joe Barner

by | Jul 14, 2023 | I Am Wilshire

I Am Wilshire – Joe Barner.

Hometown and Present City: Dallas.
Education: Bryan Adams H.S.; Univ. of North Texas; M.D. at Univ. of Texas.
Profession: Physician.

Where are you engaged at Wilshire?
Claudia and I have been in Compass Class since 1973, when it was called Alternate Young Adult.

Tell us about your faith journey.
I started in Cradle Roll at a Dallas SBC church and grew up attending church at least three times weekly. Drinking, smoking, gambling, swearing, dancing, rock-and-roll, wearing shorts at church camp, “mixed bathing” (boys and girls swimming together), premarital sex, playing cards and movies on Sunday afternoon were sinful activities good Christians did not do. Almost everything closed on Sunday except church, the cafeteria and the golf course. At UNT I was introduced to more believable progressive theology.

Any favorite hobbies?
I have failed at golf, tennis, team sports, surfing, skating, square dancing, skiing and musical instruments. I do like photography and have taken pictures of polar bears, sharks, mating lions, penguins, honeybees, erupting volcanoes, wild Texas orchids and former headhunting cannibals. It was pretty nifty scuba diving into the engine room of an old Japanese warship resting 135 feet underwater. I like to record my own memories too, especially youth and adult Scouting experiences. You could leave your home without locking doors and closing windows, which was good because we had no air-conditioning. Doctors, lawyers, preachers, firemen, policemen, barbers and pilots always were men. Milk, ice, bread and dry cleaning were delivered to your house. Encyclopedias, Fuller brushes, family Bibles and vacuum cleaners were peddled door-to-door.

How about your work?
Looking back a couple of centuries I found some ancestors who were preachers and doctors. I never wanted to deliver sermons, but I delivered about 100 babies and performed numerous surgeries before working as a radiologist at Presbyterian Hospital until retirement.

Tell us about your family.
We have two grown sons, Robert and Todd, who grew up at Wilshire, and four grandchildren. I searched for interesting ancestors in genealogy records, but the real heroes in my tree were my parents. My mom was a city girl whose pastor was George Truett. My dad grew up on a farm, using an outhouse, drawing water from a well and cooking on a wood-burning stove. When I asked people what they remembered about my grandfather, comments were unusually positive. They invariably told me what a really good person he was. “Uncle Bob was so compassionate.” “Cousin Bob was just like a family member” (They called distant relatives by blood or marriage “cousin,” “aunt” or “uncle,” except at church where everyone was “brother” or “sister,” related or not). “The best that ever walked the earth.” “Never said anything unkind about anyone.” “A real sweetheart.” “A dandy — the salt of the earth.” “Didn’t care about money.” “The nicest person you ever met and the greatest guy in the world — nobody better.” “Didn’t nobody not love Uncle Bob.”

I wish I could be like my grandfather.

*If you are interested in being featured in an upcoming I Am Wilshire feature, contact Carolyn Murray(cmurray@wilshirebc.org)