LEXINGTON, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The city of Lexington is mourning the sudden death of a man they are calling a civic cornerstone.
Sam Barnes, the president of Fifth Third's central Kentucky operations, has drowned while in Georgia. He and his wife were there for his son's wedding this weekend.
The 64-year-old swam out to a sandbar at St. Simons Island, Georgia. Barnes went under on his way back to the beach. A 14-year-old boy swam to rescue him and pulled him to shore. He died after noon on Tuesday.
A family spokesman says it appears Barnes may have suffered a heart attack while swimming and then drowned. An autopsy is being conducted to confirm what happened.
Barnes had been in Lexington about 20 years. His legacy according to the business leaders will be the brand new, Fifth Third Farmer’s Market Pavilion in downtown Lexington. Barnes had the bank donate the $750,000 to build it. It opened this year and is drawing hundreds of people on Saturday mornings. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that a group of farmers recently delivered a gift basket of items from the farmer’s market to Barnes’ house. He was speechless.