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3701 East 7th Street
Joplin, MO 64801
Phone: (417) 781-1711
Fax: (417)-781-3916
Stephen L.

Stephen L. "Steve" Barnett

Thursday, August 12th, 1948 - Thursday, August 13th, 2020
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August 12, 1948 – August 13, 2020

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.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, August 14th, 2020 |
    Friday, August 14th, 2020
    Service to be held at a later date.
    Address Not Available


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Lilly Lea

Posted at 02:09pm
Joy, Mellisa and Amy, I was so sorry to hear of Steve's passing. For the last hour my 4 sisters and I have been sharing stories of our wonderful neighbors on North Byers ! All of us have specific memories of babysitting & admiring what a beautiful home you all had.Some neighbors never even know each other & we had the privileged of knowing you all, I hope you find peace in the weeks to come remembering all the sweet memories that Steve provided for us all 🌷 Sincerely, Lilly Lea

Julie Lea

Posted at 12:03pm
Joy, Melissa and Amy -- I am so sad to hear of Steve's passing. There are many wonderful memories of our next-door friends on North Byers! Then, I was lucky to have the pleasure of working with Joy at Freeman Hospital, and Steve at Joplin Printing. Steve always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. I know you will miss him terribly and I hope the good memories help to ease your hearts through this time. Best to all of you, Julie Lea.

Kervyn Smith

Posted at 07:41am
So good to see the connection with Steve and my old friend Benton Whitaker. Benton was such a funny little man and taught me a lot about volleyball and would tell me that volleyball time was sacred time and no excuse to miss that time of being together and the exercise was so important to being a success in life and with so many funny stories. When I went to the Joplin Family Y in 1985, Benton was one of 7 that were 77 years old playing volleyball at noon every monday and friday and maybe on wednesday too. It was a time to get away and I still play volleyball every week and I will soon be 80 at least in less than 11 years. My last time to see Benton was at Freeman Hospital and he had a mouthful of fritos trying to get rid of the sweet taste of cough syrup and he assured me that he had peace with God and all was well with his soul and he would see me in heaven. It doesn't surprise me that Benton had good people in business like Steve to take it over and run with it as he did. May all who knew and loved Steve keep those funny stories and share them often as God knows all of them and we will have eternity to share as God knew and loved Steve and Benny before they were ever born and he knew their future and wrote a book about each of them before he breathed them into their mothers womb. Psalms 139 in the Passion version. Thank you Jesus for making a way and a place for us forever!

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