James Forrest Barthell

May 2, 1935 ~ April 17, 2022 (age 86)


James Forrest Barthell Sr. was born May 2, 1935 to Billie Long (Mann) and Charles Grant Barthell, Sr. in Fort Worth, Texas. He passed away on Sunday, April 17, 2022, in Duncan, Oklahoma. He was 86.

Jim grew up in Southern California and in rural Northeast Iowa, where he attended a one-room, all-grades country school. He finished his public education years, graduating from Burbank High School in Southern California in 1953.

As a young man, Jim was very active in little theater, including several 1954 productions at The California First Theater Monument in Monterey, California. It was there that Jim developed an interest in writing and reading dramatic poetry, an interest that would remain with him for the rest of his life. He truly loved standing before an audience, reciting one of his “Stories Told in Rhyming Verse”.

Jim was a Korean War Veteran, serving in The United States Air Force Security Service, with remote site duty in pre-statehood Territory of Alaska.

In October 1956 Jim’s enlistment in the Air Force was drawing to an end. It was then that he met and fell in love with his sweetheart and life partner to be, Marcella (Sally) Kost. They were united in marriage on January 6, 1957 in Burbank, California. In 2007 they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with a recommitment of vows at First Presbyterian Church in Duncan with Reverend Doctor John McGarey officiating. It was a word-for-word repeat of the original 1957 ceremony.

Working life kept Jim, Sally and their two sons, Jim Jr. and Robert, on the move. He was employed in the Consumer Electronics Industry for 40 years, serving in executive officer positions with several Harman International Industries companies (JBL, Tannoy Products Ltd. In the UK, BSW in Tennessee and Mark Levinson Audio Systems in Connecticut) and with Xantech Corporation in Southern California.

Moving to Duncan, Oklahoma after retiring, Jim and Sally joined The First Presbyterian Church in Duncan, where they both served as officers and where they participated in many volunteer activities. Sally was a regular in the church choir, an active participant in the affairs of The Women of The Church and editor of the church newsletter. Jim taught Sunday School and acted as the unofficial graphic arts person and photographer of church activities. His efforts included the production of the 175-page church centennial celebration book and the rewrite and reissue of a book originally written decades ago, featuring the story of the church’s stained-glass windows. During a six-year period he contributed countless photos and stories to appear in the eight-page monthly church newsletter, Faith at Work. He especially enjoyed serving The Women of The Church, assisting in their activities.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Charles Grant Barthell Sr. and Billie Long Mann; by a brother, Charles Grant Barthell Jr.; by a sister, Mary Charlotte Barthell; and by a grown son, Robert Gene Barthell.

He is survived by his wife, Marcella Mae (Sally) Kost Barthell of the home; by a son, James Forrest Barthell Jr. and spouse Connie Jean Barthell of Flower Mound, Texas; by grandson Chris Barthell of Flower Mound, Texas; by granddaughter, Sarah Jean Coester of Mesa, Arizona; by granddaughter and spouse Laura Mae and Tanner Mahan of Highland Village, Texas; by grandsons, Taylor Forrest Barthell and Dylan Gene Barthell, both of East Hampton, Connecticut; and by five great grandchildren, Jaymie, Cadence, Ava Belle, Liam and Ronan.

As an appropriate caution, Jim has requested that there be no Witness to The Resurrection service or other memorial gathering of friends and family in his honor. He has asked for prayers for Sally and the family.

Memorial gifts may be made to the First Presbyterian Church in Duncan, Oklahoma or to BOYS TOWN, by mail at PO Box 8000, Boys Town, NE 68010, or online at:

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