On August 20, 2020 William Joseph “Joe” Barnett went to be with Jesus on Thursday, August 20th, 2020 at the age of 88. Joe was born at his maternal grandmother’s farm in Moscow, Idaho, the third living son of Rutherford and Edna Barnett (neé Wolfe). As a child in Tacoma Washington, Joe enjoyed hunting and trapping with his uncle and father, playing “kick the can” with neighborhood friends and his three brothers, riding his bike and playing soccer. He also had a newspaper route and worked as a page in the Tacoma library, beginning a strong work ethic that he carried throughout his life. He loved helping his dad around the house and taking electrical things apart to see how they worked. And yes, he always figured out how to put them back together.
Joe finished high school and post-graduated
from Tacoma Vocational Technical School as an electronic technician in 1949. He
then worked with the US Air Force Civil Service as an electronic technician at
McChord Air Force Base. During this time, he studied engineering until he
enrolled in the University of Washington, working repairing radios to pay for
his tuition. He met Delma Ellis in 1952 at the recommendation of his
sisters-in-law. After a long-distance courtship, Joe married Delma, the love of
his life, at Boise Gospel Tabernacle in June, 1953, and returned to Washington
to begin married life. At the time of Joe’s passing they had been married for
Delma worked as a secretary at a bank to
support them as Joe completed college. He graduated as an Electrical Engineer,
and was forever grateful for the help and consistent support of his sweet wife
as he pursued his education and career. In 1956, he and Delma moved to southern
California. Their first born child, Gary, was born in 1959 while living in
Lancaster, and 3 years later, Judy completed
their family while living in Granada Hills, CA.
Joe was a hard-working man, providing excellently for his family, and
yet always took time to be involved with McDonnell Douglas Corp. He took a few
years hiatus and worked at Vector Electronics as Head Engineer before returning
to McDonnell-Douglas. At his retirement, Joe and Delma moved to Boise in 1993.
As mathematically and scientifically gifted as
Joe was, he was also a very creative person. He enjoyed making up stories for
his children and grandchildren, making music, and writing poems especially for
Delma “his Dollie.” He was very talented in a variety of instruments, including
piano, violin, guitar, and mandolin. He and Delma also often blessed their
fellow congregants at church singing lovely duets together.
First and foremost, Joe’s heart was to
sincerely serve God and His people. Joe grew up in a family that experienced
many miracles, and was blessed to know Jesus and as his savior from an early
age. It was therefore his life’s work to lead others to salvation and assist in
ministry any way he could. While in Granada Hills, Joe taught Sunday School for
the teen boys and taught Wednesday night Bible studies at a Japanese
Presbyterian congregation, leading many to a deeper relationship with Christ
and encouraging growth in the Holy Spirit. He willingly answered God’s call in
his life in any way, whether doing door-to-door ministry, leading Bible studies
in prisons, or continuing to lead Bible studies in their own home for years
after. Joe was devoted to his family, work, and most of all, God.
Joe and Delma were a fun-loving couple who
enjoyed entertaining, traveling, and spending time with their family. Joe set
an excellent example of love for his whole family. His unwavering love for his
wife was inspirational to many and his sold-out love of Christ made him a giant
in the faith to all who knew him. Joe became the part of the 3rd generation of
Christians in his family, and so far, leaves 3 more generations following the
Lord. Joe is survived by his wife Delma, son Gary (Sheryl) Barnett, and his
daughter Judy (Craig) Nowaski. He also leaves behind 5 grandchildren Stephen
Nowaski, Linda (Nickolas) Coile, Jamie (Alan) Wiseman, Brionna Nowaski, and
Abigael Nowaski, as well as 7 great-grandchildren: Josiah, Truman, Alden,
Remington, Vivian, Tennyson, and Elias.
A service in celebration of Joe’s life will be
held at 11:00 am September 19 at 1115 N Garden St., Boise, ID 83706 at River
Valley Church. The service will also be available live-streamed on the church’s
website, or it can be found at
Family graveside service to follow at Terrace Lawn Cemetery in Boise. Flowers
can be sent to 5400 W Fairview Ave, Boise, ID, 83706. Or, in lieu of flowers, a
donation can be made to a Christian charity of your choice, in Joe’s honor.