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Debra Dene Barnes

Debra Barnes as honorary Blue AngelDebra Dene Barnes was born September 6, 1947, in Moran, Allen County, Kansas. At a very young age Barnes learned to play the piano. Barnes attended Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas, and majored in music. In 1967 Barnes participated in the Miss Pittsburg State pageant. After winning Barnes went on to the Miss Kansas pageant, which she also won. Barnes’ skill with the piano helped her win the Miss America pageant of 1968 when she played “Born Free” in four variations. After winning Miss America Barnes went back to Pittsburgh State to complete her music degree. She was named the Native Sons and Daughters' Kansan of the Year in 1967.

Using her piano skills, Barnes gives concerts both across America and internationally. Barnes became a teacher at Missouri Southern State University where she teaches people of all ages, and she is also very active in her church as the musical director. 

Entry: Barnes, Debra Dene

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: May 2012

Date Modified: September 2014

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.