Reba Jean Barnett
June 16, 1923 – Nov. 13, 2019
EMPORIA — Reba Jean Barnett, Reading, died Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, at Emporia Place. She was 96.
She was born June 16, 1923, at Lebo, the daughter of Robert Althouse and Gladys Antrim Spatz. Reba was raised in the Lebo community and graduated from Lebo High School with the class of 1941. She furthered her education at Strickler’s Business College, Topeka.
She worked for the Kansas League of Municipalities, initially on the KU Campus in Lawrence before transferring to the Topeka office. At the League, she developed her love for basketball while employed as secretary to Attorney Albert B. Martin. His son played basketball for Topeka High School and she attended every game, betting nickels with her boss. Her love for basketball extended to ESU and KU, where she remained a devoted fan throughout her life.
Jean married the love of her life, Edwin W. Barnett, Dec. 14, 1947, at Emporia. Together, they became lifelong members of the Reading community, farming south of town until Edwin’s death on May 17, 2005.
When she was four years old, she lost her mother in a car and train accident. She was provided care by her loving father, family and friends including the late Bertha Conley and Clifford and Alleen Bell of Chase County.
Jean was a lifelong member of the Reading United Methodist Church.
Besides her husband, she was preceded in death by a son, Joe C. Barnett on April 3, 1988; and two brothers, Harold “Skinny” Spatz of the “Doolittle Raid of WWII” in 1942 and Robert J. “Bob” Spatz in 2013.
She will live on in the hearts and memories of a son, Dr. Jim Barnett and wife, Rosie Hansen, Topeka; two grandchildren, Blake Edward Barnett and Chelsea Christine Barnett, both of Chicago, Ill.; numerous extended family; and a host of dear friends.
Services will be 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23 at Reading United Methodist Church. Burial will follow at Reading Cemetery, beside her beloved husband, Edwin.
Memorial contributions may be made to Reading United Methodist Church or Barnett Family Scholarship at Emporia State University and sent in care of Jones VanArsdale Funeral Home, P.O. Box 43, Lebo, KS 66856.
Condolences may be expressed at vanarsdalefs.com.