When the clock reached 12:01 a.m. on October 10, I arose from my chair and went to the bedroom where my critically ill wife was sleeping. I took her hand and began to sing “Happy Birthday.” I had no idea whether she understood what I was saying. It made no difference that I was four days ahead of her actual birthday. I told her, “This will be the last time that I sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to you, ‘My Annie Girl.’ I will love you forever.”’ I bent over and kissed her lips gently. I knew she couldn’t speak, but she managed a slight smile, the last sign of life her weak body would deliver. She slipped back into a deep sleep and never awoke again. At 5:30 p.m., my wife of 55 years. Ann C. Barnes, 73, passed away after a long, courageous fight against a terminal disease. Mrs. Barnes was born in Faison, N.C. on Oct. 14, 1947. She retired in 2009 as Assistant Director of Community Development, ending a 30-year career with the City of Wilton Manors where she was a 50-year resident. During her career, she was an active member of FAOLO (Florida Association of Occupational Licensing Officials). She was on the association’s governing board for years rising to chairperson at one point. Even as her condition worsened, she fought to squeeze every breath out of life before the disease finally won as it was destined to do. Her fight to live was admirable, and for those who knew her well and loved her, they will remember much wider and brighter smiles than her final one. Mrs. Barnes is survived by her husband, Craig, a former Sun-Sentinel sportswriter, who considers it a blessing to have had her as a wife, partner, mother of their children and glue to their family. He also considers himself extremely fortunate to have been able to comfort and care for her in ther final years before passing on to Heaven where she now rests in comfort with no pain for the first time in a longtime. In addition to her husband, she is survived by her sons, Chris and Monte, whom she loved and protected and did her best to guide in the right direction with all her heart and soul; her four grandchildren, Shelby and Joshua Barnes, Tatianna Ruff-Barnes and Hunter DiGiacomo and her one great grandchild, Kayden Johnson. There were no greater loves in her life. A Celebration of Life for Mrs. Barnes will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday October 23 at the First Christian Church of Wilton Manors, 2725 N.E. 14th Ave. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Kids in Distress or the Friends of the Wilton Manors library. On line condolences can be shared at edkalis.com. Arrangements entrusted to Edwards Cremation & Funeral Services, Wilton Manors.