Funeral Service: Thursday 12/30/2010 11:00, North Chapel
Visitation: Wednesday 12/29/2010 5:00 - 8:00PM
W. A. (Bill) Barnett, 88, died Tuesday, December 28, 2010, at his home in Newton, MS. He was a long- time resident, businessman, and public servant in his home town of Newton.
Raised in Kemper County, MS, he was born there on February 6, 1922, the youngest child of James Arch Barnett and Annie Alma Neal. In 1948 he moved his young family from Meridian to Newton as a cotton buyer. Soon thereafter, in 1951, he started his own feed and seed store in partnership with The Ralston- Purina Company. Later, he started Barnett Egg Company, which processed, packaged, and sold eggs, both wholesale and retail. After more than 20 years of operating as Barnett Egg Company, he converted the business to Barnett Frozen Foods, still operating today under the ownership and management of his son Aaron.
His desire to make his community a better place led him to run for local public office in the early 1960's. He was elected to the office of city alderman, where he served six consecutive terms for the City of Newton from 1961-1986. He also served for a brief period as interim mayor for the City of Newton.
He loved to hunt, and was a charter member of the Red Hat Hunting Club in the Bethel community south of Newton. For all the pleasure he received hunting, however, he was an even more avid fisherman, and spent many countless hours with his fishing buddies at numerous Mississippi delta lakes, the Barnett Reservoir (which was not named for him, but could have been for all the fish he took from there), and at his own private pond on his farm. He also enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren and tending to a garden.
He was a member of Newton United Methodist Church for 62 years, where he served actively until the last few years of his life, when poor health prevented him from attending regularly. Two weeks before his death, he celebrated 66 wonderful years of marriage with his wife, Freddie Marshall Barnett. He is survived by his wife Freddie, daughter Mary Carol Shivers (husband Terry) of Plano, TX, sons Billy Barnett (wife Cindy) of Brandon, MS and Aaron Lee Barnett (wife Jennifer) of Newton, 5 grandchildren, 3 grandchildren-in-law, and 4 great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 from 5:00 - 8:00pm and on Thursday, December 30 from 10:00 - 11:00 am, at Newton County Funeral Home North, 9998 Hwy 15 North, Newton, MS. The funeral service will be held Thursday, December 30, at 11:00 am at the same location, with burial in the adjoining Newton County Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorials be sent to Newton United Methodist Church.