Cover photo for Willis C. Barger's Obituary
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1931 Willis "Cotton" Barger 2024

Willis C. Barger

January 30, 1931 — February 27, 2024

Kansas City, MO

Willis C. “Cotton” Barger was born in Westboro, MO on January 30, 1931, to William and Gae (Macrander) Barger; a brother to Dan and Ike, and eventually a big brother to Lucy and Betheen.  

Cotton graduated from Horace Mann High School in Maryville, MO, class of 1949.  He and Ike worked together after high school at the bluegrass yard turning bluegrass before joining Triple A as a lineman. He installed phone lines throughout many southern counties in MO and to this day, knew not only the counties themselves but the names of the roads, or the numbers of the state roads.  He was a walking atlas and could tell you how to get just about anywhere and what road would intersect along the journey.  He could get you from Argyle to Todd Holler with maybe a story or two about what happened at each place along the way.  

Cotton was drafted into the Army in 1951 and served in Germany until 1953.  He returned to Maryville MO, working at Buck’s Tire Shop, before starting barber college in Kansas City.  

He married the love of his life, Nancy Lee Noblet in Maryville on April 22, 1956, and were blessed with 52 years of marriage.  Cotton and Nancy lived in King City, MO for a couple of years where he continued to barber, and their daughter Gina Louise was born in 1959.  They eventually moved to Independence, MO in 1963.  Their son, Gary Wayne, was born in 1965.  

In 1968, Cotton switched careers and began working at Yellow Freight until his retirement in 1996; however, he did continue to barber at various shops in the area when needed.  He was a partner in Cotton & Bob’s Barber Shop at one time in Independence.  

Cotton and Nancy enjoyed traveling to many areas of interest through the United States after his retirement.  He had many hobbies that brought him pleasure.  Cotton enjoyed fishing, duck hunting, and gardening.  He was an avid walker, not only for the health benefits but also because he was able to watch all the deer, rabbits, and other species of wildlife during his walks.  He could spot a bird whether in flight or in its nest and know their names.  Cotton throughout his life continued to keep his bird feeders full for his feathered friends whose antics brought him joy.  Another passion was woodworking.  Count yourself lucky if you’ve received a scroll basket, a duck, a mouse, or maybe even a shelf are just a few of the projects that he liked to make.  Many received a cross or a Lord’s Prayer plaque as he was most generous and received great joy in giving his wooden creations to those he cared about.  Cotton was also extremely generous with his time and was always willing to help out and very good handyman to know.  

He and Nancy became grandparents in 2002, when his granddaughter Jordyn Marie Barger was born and then again in 2005 when grandson, Noah Thomas Barger was born.  

Before his passing on February 27, 2024, he had lost the love of his life and best friend Nancy in 2009.  He was also pre-deceased by his oldest brother and both sisters.  With his long life, he had outlived most of his extended family and friends that he loved and missed before his passing.  Cotton is survived by his daughter, Gina; his son, Gary and his family; brother, Ike; in-laws, nieces and nephews whom he dearly loved and cherished.  
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Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, March 8, 2024

9:00 - 10:00 am (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Friday, March 8, 2024

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

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