Jack Franklin Barnett
September 27, 1933 – June 22, 2021
Jack Franklin Barnett, 87, passed away in hospice care on June 22, 2021 in Florissant, Missouri. Known lovingly as “Papa” to his family and “Cap’n Jack” to former workmates, Jack’s enduring sense of humor will be remembered most by family and friends. He is survived by his devoted wife of 56 years, Jeanette Barnett; daughter Joli Helm and husband Patrick; daughter Jessica DeCuir and husband Jeff; granddaughters Sydney, Abby, and Isabel; six nieces and three nephews.
He was preceded in death by his beloved sisters, Betty Upson and Margaret Crank.
Jack was born in Hardin Kentucky on September 27, 1933 to Mabel and Clete Barnett. The Barnett’s had a farm and many family reunions there when Jack was young. Due to his father’s military service, the family relocated to Texas before arriving in Illinois and Missouri. Jack graduated from Granite City High School in 1951 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Design from SIU Carbondale in 1955. A talented artist, he excelled in drawing and ceramics, especially wheel thrown pottery. Jack was a wanderlust as a young man and loved to travel. His love affair with Mexico began in college when he traveled there for the first time. After completing his bachelor’s degree and a year of graduate school, Jack changed his path and joined the U.S. Air Force where he became a First Lieutenant. An excellent photographer, he ran the Air Force photo lab and documented his travels in Japan, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. He appreciated the landscape and culture of Japan and often told the story of how he heroically climbed Mount Fuji only to slide down it on his behind. After his military service, Jack met Jeanette working as a commercial artist at KMOX-TV where she was a production assistant to Vincent Price, among others. They married after a long courtship in 1965. After starting a family, Jack went on to work full-time for nearly 44 years as a draftsman and Mapping Director at St. Louis County Highways and Traffic Department. In addition to his draftsman skills, he was the lead director on various projects and involved in the Adopt-a-Roadside program.
Jack enjoyed watching old movies, listening to records and singing the songs he loved most, like “Begin the Beguine”. His taste in music was diverse, ranging from mariachi and Latin music to Scottish bagpipes, Abba, Pavarotti and Cole Porter. “Casablanca” was his favorite movie, and he could never get enough of Charlie Chaplin films and “Flying Down to Rio”. His love of all things nature revealed itself many years ago when he gave up hunting to sit quietly and observe the beauty of wildlife. Jack was a voracious reader of fiction and poetry. Among his favorites was “The Raven” by Edgar Allen Poe, and he never tired of hearing Jeanette recite “The Cremation of Sam McGee”. He was mischievous, curious, forthright, and funny. He enjoyed being pampered by his wife and family caregivers. He was proud of his daughters and granddaughters and liked to refer to himself as “pater familias”.
As per his wishes, Jack was cremated. There will be a private family memorial trip to scatter his ashes in Kentucky at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Jack’s family requests that donations go to the National Council on Aging. https://www.ncoa.org/