Barnett was encouraging as a leader
By Laurie Stone
Clarence Barnett dedicated his life to civil service. He was a quiet leader that encouraged others to stive beyond what they thought they could accomplish for themselves.
According to family members, he led by example as he taught his family and friends the importance of building relationships, which to him was one of the most important accomplishments in life.
Clarence “Barney” Barnett died on May 14, 2005, in Amarillo of a spinal injury from a minor car accident. He was 82.
According to Larry Barnett, Clarence Barnett’s son, his father was a man of modest and humble character that knew how to lead others in a quiet manner.
“He was not afraid of tackling any task,” Larry said. “This was a guy who was gutsy. He accomplished a lot of things in his life and never bragged about it and he taught his kids to do the same thing.
“He was a good teacher because he showed people how to have a good time whether it was fishing, boating or having fun at a barbeque.”
Barnett was born Jan. 26, 1923, in Duran, to Homer and Elbertine Smith Barnett.
He grew up in Portales. His first job was throwing papers for the local newspaper. He graduated from Portales High School in 1941 and attended Eastern New Mexico Junior College for two years before volunteering for the service in the U. S. Navy in 1943.
He served as a Navy pilot flying fighter and bomber planes during World War II and submarine planes during the Korean Conflict. He was a winner of the Navy Air Medal. In high school he met Betty Gossard. They were married on Nov. 4, 1945. She died in 1973. They had four children together.
Barnett worked as a letter carrier for the Postal Service in Portales until 1956 when he moved to Albuquerque. In Albquerque he worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller until 1965.
Barnett married May Fair Meacham on Oct. 9, 1995. They met at work in the Albquerque Post Office.
He was a member of the Central Christian Church in Portales and the Retired Federal Employees. He also enjoyed traveling and exposing his children to new things like fishing, hunting and camping. Family members said that Barnett was self-sufficent and enjoyed building furniture and patios and fixing his own car.
Melveta Green said she and her brother had a wonderful life and his success of being a “spectacular man in ever way” was derived from the example their father, Homer Barnett, left behind for him to follow.
“Growing up, he was very protective of me. He always kept his eye on me which made me feel secure. He was the same way with his own children.”
Building strong relationships were important to Barnett. Many of the friendships he acquired during high school continued to mature throughout his lifetime. He and Ernest Wall had a 66-year friendship.
“We had a lot of things in common and worked well together,” Wall said. “It hurts me that he is gone because we created a lot of memories together.”
Name: Clarence Barnett
Born: Jan. 26, 1923
Died: May 14, 2005
Preceded in death by: his first wife; his parents; a brother, Raymond Barnett; a son, Brett Barnett; and a granddaughter, Chrissy Smith.
Survived by: his wife; two sons, Larry Barnett (and wife, Lyn) of Grand Junction, Cole., and Tommy Barnett (Cindy) of Mansfield, Texas; a daughter, Mona Robinson (Arlie) of Portales; six grandchildren; a brother, Dr. Thomas Marvin Barnett of Olathe, Kan.; a sister, Melveta Green of Portales; and two stepchildren, Pam Meacham and Joe Burton Meacham, both of Albuquerque.