|Birth: ||Jul. 14, 1917|
South Dakota, USA
|Death: ||Dec. 2, 2008|
Wayne A. Barnett, age 91, of Blue River died peacefully at his home on December 2, 2008. He was born in Lead, South Dakota on July 14, 1917, to William M. and Mary (Peterson) Barnett.
When Wayne was only one year old, his mother died in the great flu epidemic of 1918. Wayne later gained a new parent in 1921 when his father married Susan B. Charbonneau, a descendant of Bird Woman (Sacajawea) Charbonneau. From her and his father, who worked as a conservationist on the Indian Reservation, Wayne absorbed much Native American lore and learned to love the great outdoors.
He rode a horse to school and as a young man chose jobs that kept him in close touch with the natural world. He earned an Indian name that meant ‘Eagle Eye' and he was proud of that name forever. When war clouds loomed in 1941 he joined the Army along with his older brother ‘Billy' Barnett.
In 1942 before going overseas, recently commissioned Second Lieutenant Barnett happened to meet a young lady who was selling poppies in Valentine, Nebraska. This young lady, Ella Claire Stewart, would later become the love of his life as Mrs. Wayne Barnett on June 30, 1946.
Wayne's brother was sent to fight against the Japanese in the Pacific and died as a result of the infamous Bataan Death March. Wayne was sent across the Atlantic Ocean to fight against Nazi Germany and became a bombardier on a B-17 Flying Fortress. He flew 22 successful missions, but on his 23 mission his plane was shot down and Captain Wayne Barnett was captured by German soldiers.
He spent 11 months as a prisoner of war before he and Al Bibbens, a fellow crewmember and good friend, successfully escaped. They had numerous adventures evading the Germans and eventually rode a captured motorcycle out of Germany and across France to a seaport that was in Allied hands.
Wayne decided to stay in the military, the Army Air Corps became the US Air Force, and he flew in B-29, B-50, B-36, and B-52 bombers over most of the globe before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1961. By then he had survived WWII, Korea, one bail out, and four crash landings.
Wayne had always wanted some land of his own and he had searched across most of the US before he was taken with the scenic beauty of the green hills and woods of Southwestern Wisconsin. He bought a farm near Blue River and enjoyed his remaining years there with his family.
Wayne is survived by his wife Claire Barnett, three children, William S. (Virginia) Barnett of Neenah, Kathleen M. (Gary) Gaard of Anchorage, AK, Steven Wayne Barnett of Cassville, 9 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, his sister Edna Louise (Bruce) Locke of Pahrump, NV, as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.
Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, his brother William Harold Barnett, and two sisters, Stasia Barnett and Pauline Marie Barnett.
Funeral Services were held on Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 11:00 AM at the Blue River United Methodist Church with Pastor Harriett Rowland officiating.
Burial was held at the Blue River Cemetery with Military Graveside Rites provided by the Blue River American Legion Post # 443.
Friends called at the Blue River United Methodist Church on Saturday, December 6, 2008 from 10:00 AM until the time of the funeral service at 11:00 AM.
The Godager Funeral Home of Muscoda assisted the family with their arrangements.
Blue River Cemetery
Created by: the piano guy
Record added: Jan 13, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 32905645