August 12, 1948 – August 13, 2020
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During the past 2 years, Steve has fought cancer. He fought hard.
Steve was born in St. Louis, MO to Dr. Norman H. Barnett and Charlotte Gurley Barnett.
When his father was in the Air Force he was stationed in Germany with his wife and two
small children. Steve was not of school age but did have a few memories of living
there. His family moved back to the States in time for Steve to start 1st grade.
Steve took golf lessons and played Junior Golf at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club.
Two important things came from that time. One his love of the game and a lifelong
friendship with John Hale. Whenever possible and as regularly as possible, Steve and
John had lunch together and played golf.
Steve graduated from Joplin High School in 1966. Several stories of teenage hijinks
have been told. Usually Neil Campbell was involved. Steve and Neil bonded over
debate class and Key Club. Two important things came from that time. Neil being able
to remember what really happened and a lifelong friendship. Steve, John, and Neil
continued close and strong friendships to the present.
Steve then attended and graduated from The University of the South in Sewanne, TN.
Steve was a member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Two important things came from
that time. A good education and lifelong friends. Steve and seven of his fraternity
brothers have gathered at Sewanne for a long weekend golfing each year.
Steve returned to Joplin after graduation and was introduced to Joy Whitaker. Steve,
who fished and floated rivers, took Joy in his fishing boat to show her the pleasures of
floating on the river. The river was low and there was more fording than floating. Then
Joy took Steve to Grand Lake, where she cooked a complete dinner in the coals of a
fire built on the shore. Steve was mightily impressed. Two important things came from
that time. Steve became a lake person and he and Joy got married on July 15, 1972.
In 1973, Steve went to work for Benton Whitaker at Whitaker Printing. In 1976, Benton
purchased Joplin Printing Company. In 1997, Steve purchased and became President
of the corporation. While working and raising a family of two daughters, Steve was a
member and president of the Noon Rotary Club, treasurer for the United Way, co-chairman
of the 1976 Joplin Air Show, member of the Junior Achievement Board and
Chairman of Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.
Friends and family have their own stories and memories. Those remaining with funny
stories and wonderful memories are wife Joy, daughters, Melissa and husband Scott
Purcell, Joplin, Amy and husband Jonathan Morse, Roanoke, TX and two
grandchildren, Libby and Benton Morse, Roanoke, TX. Sisters and brothers Suzanne
and Mike Gollhofer, Granby, John and Gill Barnett, Edmond, OK, Tamara Barnett,
Joplin, Todd and Kimberli Barnett, Redlands, CA and 10 nieces and nephews. Also
surviving is his brother-in-law Captain Kim Whitaker, St. Augustine, FL.
Services are planned for a later date. If you wish to honor Steve, donate to the charity of your choice.