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Forging family traditions

Creating and maintaining family traditions can sometimes be a hectic and daunting task; however, for Pat and Phil Barnes, forging the family tradition of visiting Mo-Ranch was a given. Phil was first drawn to the ranch in the mid-1980s for a series of Presbytery leadership meetings, and that first visit became one of many, many more to come.

Since his initial visit, Phil has been enraptured with the ranch and found it to be a wonderful place that he wanted to share with his family, too. It wasn’t long before Phil brought Pat and their children for the weekend to enjoy the ranch and all its offerings. It soon became a treasured place to each of them for the different ways that Mo can sooth the soul. For Phil, Mo is a special place where he enjoys the spectacular views, the peaceful atmosphere and the rich history and legacy of O.R. Seagraves and Daniel Moran. While on the other hand, Pat admits that it’s hard to pinpoint her favorite spot because there is so much about it that she loves.

“It was all magical,” said Pat of her initial impression of the ranch. “I loved the historical buildings, especially the aviary and greenhouse. Of course, the nature trails were also wonderful; I loved going down into the woods by the river and the slide.”

Pat and Phil continued to bring their children out for the weekends and spring break getaways, and as their visits frequented, their love for the ranch grew. On one such occasion, David Evans coaxed their oldest daughter down the Mo slide. After that initial encounter, Phil and David grew closer. Phil now considers David to be a lifelong friend—he even officiated that daughter’s wedding!

“It’s simply the memories that draw us to Mo,” said Phil. “We love to revisit the memories we’ve made every time we venture back; It’s a very special place for our family.”

Throughout the years, Pat and Phil, plus their five children, have attended various events offered at the ranch such as Westlake Hills Presbyterian’s semi-annual church retreat, the professional women’s retreat and Mo-Ranch board meetings. As a board member, Phil participated in the finance committee, and he was later asked by former Mo-Ranch President, David Jordan, to serve on the senior board. He then served on the columbarium committee where he and David Evans spearheaded the columbarium project and made a vision into the beautiful reality that Serenity Hill now is today.

“It was an honor to be invited to join the board,” said Phil. “Mo-Ranch is a part of premier institutions of the church, and after having served as an elder in my church, I wanted to support various other institutions with the PC(USA) affiliation.”

Because the ranch has been such a staple and landmark in their lives, Pat and Phil continue to support and visit Mo in various capacities with gifts of their time and monetary gifts. Together, they enjoy contributing to an important part of the Presbyterian church and want all visitors to feel welcome and comfortable while at the ranch.

Pat and Phil view the ranch as a second home, so much so that their family—including their five children, 13 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren—have celebrated Phil’s 60th and 70th birthday at Mo, and they plan to celebrate his 80th here as well!

The Barnes are still actively involved at their church home, Westlake Hill Presbyterian. Phil enjoys playing golf and spending time with other Presbyterians whenever he can, and Pat currently works as an estate planning attorney and enjoys how her profession allows her to assist others with their problems.

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