Oliver Lee "Barney" Barnett Jr., a longtime resident of Cedar Hills east of Kingman, was born Jan. 8, 1933, to Oliver Lee Barnett Sr. and Florence Enright Barnett in Fresno, Calif. He went home to be with the Lord on Dec. 1, 2015.
Barney was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Elizabeth "Betty" Wentworth Barnett, and by his sister, Mary Barnett of Kingman. He also leaves son Jeff Sr. (wife Sandy) of Phoenix, son Doug (wife Barbara) of Glendale and granddaughter Kristen, as well as grandsons Jeff Jr. (wife Kim), and Ben, of Phoenix, and Jose and Sam Rayes of Glendale. He also leaves two great-granddaughters, Morgan and Elry of Phoenix.
On Saturday, Dec. 5, a memorial service celebrated Barney's home-going. It was held at Cedar Hills Community Church. Friends, relatives and acquaintances from the area, as well as from Kingman and Phoenix, attended. Pastor Rick Mauldin led the service and Doug and Barbara Barnett, of Barnett Productions, provided music and photographs.
Barney was proud to be a Korean War veteran, serving in Korea as a radio operator in the 1973rd AACS Squadron and at Travis Air Force Base, Calif. He was a current member of American Legion Post 14 in Kingman and a former member of Veterans of Foreign Wars in Phoenix.
Barney's military experience led him into several other phases of his life. He became an air traffic controller with the FAA in Phoenix and in Albuquerque, N.M. He was a radio amateur for many years as WA7VGC and had been a member of ARRL. He was also a member of the Civil Air Patrol, where he was active in Phoenix and Albuquerque. Among his many duties, he was information officer in Squadron 308C in north Phoenix. He was a great writer and received an award for his excellent reporting. He also worked with cadet training.
Barney also helped publish the first issue of "The Lamplighter," the newspaper at Phoenix Evening College (now a part of the community college district.) Barney was also an excellent Sunday school teacher and a deacon at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Phoenix.
When Barney left the FAA, he returned to college, then went to work for Valley National Bank (now Chase Bank), where he worked for nearly 20 years as an accountant. (He called it forensic accounting, since his main duty was as a "clinker finder.")
Because of Barney's long-standing interest in education, he became a member of the Hackberry School District Board in Cedar Hills. He was a member for about 10 years and was president of the board for much of that time. He helped improve the educational environment at Hackberry District until health issues made it necessary for him to retire from the board.
Barney wasn't really a cowboy, but loved all things western. He was known for his western shirts and cowboy boots. His collection of Gene Autry music and movies was well-known in the family. He had over eight hours of recorded Gene Autry songs.
Barney enjoyed many activities such as travelling and camping, and being active in his sons' sports activities, and in recent years, he enjoyed spending time talking and listening to family and friends on a great variety of subjects.
Barney was loved by his family and enjoyed friendships in Phoenix, Kingman and Cedar Hills, as well as family and friends scattered throughout the country.
He will always be remembered for his dry humor and his wisdom. Many of us are looking forward to seeing him in his heavenly home when it is our turn to go. We will probably find him telling the angels what is wrong with the educational system or the problems with the economic system back here on Earth. We will miss you, Barney, until we meet again.