PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. — Lt. Col. George Barry “Skip” Barnett, USAF retired, was born Dec. 27, 1948, and went to be with his Lord Jan. 19, 2014, at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans, La.
George’s life was a wonderful success story. From his meager beginnings on Beacon Street in Laurel, Miss., he understood what it meant to work for what you had in life, yet at the same time knew that it came from the gracious, loving heavenly Father.
His first job as a boy was shining shoes in front of the local barbershop not far from his home. From there, he made money to help the family, chasing escaped chickens for the local Sanderson Farms plant. Also, he ran a newspaper route as a young teenager.
As a young man, he sold insurance for State Farm. He was told to join the biggest church in town in order to be a success as a salesman. It was there that he accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and was called to the ministry.
George was a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. After becoming a Christian, he went to the New Orleans Theological Seminary. Upon graduation, he went into the ministry, pastoring churches in Mississippi, including Perkinston Baptist Church in Perkinston, Miss. From there he enlisted in the United States Air Force as a chaplain. During this time, his tours of duty included California, Korea, Keesler in Biloxi, Miss., Texas and Illinois. Also during this time, he attended Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va., where he obtained a master’s degree in Christian education.
After he went into the Air Force Reserve and retired from active duty, he continued to serve as pastor under the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) pastoring churches in Philo, Paris, Long Beach, Miss., and Orange Grove, Miss. Later in 2009, he retired from full-time ministry.
Most important, George was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend to all who knew him. He unselfishly gave of himself to anyone who needed help and was an extraordinary example of the love of Christ to others.
He was preceded in death by his biological father, Henry Barnett; his mother, Alma Lucille Watson; his stepfather, J.C. Watson; and his oldest sister, Barbara Aline Hayman.
He is survived by his wife, Cynthia Louis Cunningham Barnett of Pass Christian, Miss.; children, Beverly Barnett Hymer and her husband, Matt Hymer, of San Antonio, Texas, Brooke Pruett of Austin, Texas, and Marissa Barnett of Champaign; three grandchildren, Jackson Hymer, Evan Pruett and Gavin Hymer; sisters, Betty Ball and her husband, Don Ball, of Orange, Texas, Rebecca Hill and her husband, T.L. Hill, of Monticello, Miss., Shirley Grubbs of Pinola, Miss., and Frankie Hankins of Bridge City, Texas.
Services will begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Pass Christian, Miss., where friends may visit one hour before the service. Burial will follow at 2:30 p.m. at Biloxi National Cemetery, with military honors by the USAF. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that all donations be made to the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, 3545 N. I-10 Service Road, Metairie, LA 70006. Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport, Miss., is in charge of arrangements. View and sign register at www.bradfordokeefe.com.