Cover photo for Barbara Joan Sexton Harkins's Obituary
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1942 Barbara 2022

Barbara Joan Sexton Harkins

October 17, 1942 — December 27, 2022



Mrs. Barbara Joan Harkins, 80, of Gainesville passed away peacefully December 27, 2022 following an extended illness.


The family will receive friends at Memorial Park Funeral Home, 2030 Memorial Park Road, Gainesville, GA  on Thursday, December 29, 2022 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  On Friday, December 30, 2022, the family will receive friends at Thomas Funeral Home, 335 Red Bud Road NE, Calhoun, GA from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. in the Thomas Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. James Shope officiating. Interment will follow the service at Fain Cemetery, Calhoun, GA.


Mrs. Harkins was born October 17, 1942 in Calhoun, GA to the late Everett and Ruby Allen Sexton. In addition to her parents, Mrs. Harkins was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, Rev. Jesse Harkins; son, Derenney Lyle “Luke” Harkins; brothers Julius and Max Sexton, and husband Max Kent of Salisbury, NC.


Mrs. Harkins graduated from Calhoun High School class of 1960. She married her high school sweetheart in the summer of 1962 and was the ultimate homemaker. She supported her husband in business and later in ministry. As a pastor’s wife she moved many times; no matter the location, she always managed to make a beautiful and loving home for her family. She loved the Lord and gave of her time gladly opening her home to minister to those in need. She always took time to listen to and encourage others and was such a delight to be around. 


Always a gracious host, she loved entertaining friends and family.  Cooking, decorating, and sewing were some of her passions. She enjoyed traveling and especially loved returning to New Smyrna Beach several times each year where she and Jess honeymooned 60 years ago. Joan was a lady’s lady and cherished her ‘girl time’ with her daughter and many girlfriends. However, she most delighted in her role as a mom and grandmother. She could never be found without a picture or story of one of her children or her beloved grandchild.


Joan continually embraced the many stages of life with her dear brothers and her sisters-in-law and many lifetime friends. With upmost dignity she weathered the sudden loss of her beloved husband and son. True to her character, her boundless positivity and determination enabled her to eventually move forward and create many beautiful new memories with friends and family - and later even with her bonus family in Salisbury, NC.  Always full of life, her infectious smile and gentle presence will be sorely missed.


Left to cherish her memory are her daughter, Andrea Harkins Smith, son-in-law, Rodney Smith and grandson, Grayson Smith all of Gainesville; loving in-laws, nieces, nephews; her loving additional family, son Max Kent, Jr. (Leslie) of Buford, GA, daughters, Mimi Kent Joyner (Ray), Amy Kent Kluttz (Mike), Courtney Kent Alderman (Josh), all of Salisbury, NC, and a number of other special friends.


You may leave the family online condolences at


Thomas Funeral Home has proudly been entrusted with the care of Barbara Jean Sexton Harkins.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Barbara Joan Sexton Harkins, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, December 30, 2022

12:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Service

Friday, December 30, 2022

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Friday, December 30, 2022

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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