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 Mary Josephine “Jo” <I>Johnson</I> Barnhart

Mary Josephine “Jo” Johnson Barnhart

Billings, Christian County, Missouri, USA
Death 20 May 2006 (aged 90)
Wenatchee, Chelan County, Washington, USA
Burial East Wenatchee, Douglas County, Washington, USA
Plot Section F No. 222
Memorial ID 26881220 · View Source
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Obituary in the Wenatchee World:

Mary Josephine "Jo" Barnhart, 90, of Wenatchee, died Saturday, May 20, 2006.

She was a longtime Wenatchee Valley resident and a homemaker.

Survivors include her husband, Charles W. "Chuck" Barnhart of Wenatchee; and her children, Ed Barnhart of Wenatchee and Neil Barnhart of Prescott Valley, Ariz.

At her request, there will be no public service. A private inurnment will be held at Evergreen Memorial Park in East Wenatchee.

Arrangements are by Telford's Chapel of the Valley, East Wenatchee.

Mary Josephine memoriam in the Wenatchee World:

Mary Josephine "Jo" Barnhart died on May 20, 2006 at the Highgate Memory Care Cottage in Wenatchee, Washington. She was born to Will and Della (Schaeffer) Johnson on September 5, 1915, in Billings, Missouri, where Will was town constable. In 1919, the family went to Springfield, MO, and bought a Dodge to drive west where Della's family had gone. They caravanned over the dirt roads with two paternal uncles, Fred and Allen in another car. They camped their way across the U.S. to California and up the west coast to Washington, visiting relatives along the way. Uncle Allen stayed in the Spokane Valley and Uncle Fred settled in Tacoma. Will and Della, with daughters Nelle, 18, and Jo, 4, returned to Missouri.

In 1921 the family sold out in Missouri, and traveled back to the Northwest to settle, first in Waterville, where Will helped in his brother- and sister-in-law, Frank and Hattie Fletcher's harvest. After harvest, Jo, Nelle and their mother stayed in Waterville where Jo attended first and second grades and sister Nelle worked at the telephone company, while Will went to the Spokane Valley to help his brother Allen build a home on Progress Road in Veradale. The family lived at two different locations in Spokane briefly, at University Place and Apple Way, between Opportunity and Dishman, and Jo attended school at Opportunity.

In 1923 the family moved to Wenatchee where Will went to work as an upholsterer. They lived at 119 North Chelan Street, next to the Weinstein family, and Jo attended grades 3 and 4 at Whitman School. Their next home was on the corner of Kittitas Street at Okanogan, which provided lots of winter fun when Kittitas Street was closed for sledding. Jo attended grades 5 and 6 at Stevens School then and after they moved to South Mission Street near her long-time best friend, Phyllis Boyce and across from Veterinarian Dr. Fay, whom they both enjoyed helping with the animals. The family moved again to the corner of Emerson and Third streets, and Jo attended grades 7 and 8 at Whitman School, where every morning the students marched in to one of Sousa's marches. Before the end of her 8th grade year, the family moved to 12 Adams Street, where the family took in Barbara, the daughter of a divorced mother while she worked.

Jo was a member of the last freshman class to attend Wenatchee High School, because the H.B. Ellison junior High School was being built, and the next 9th grade attended there. She particularly loved the Home Economics classes with her cooking partner, Charlotte Johnson. She was a member of one of two pep clubs at WHS, the Hy Ya Skookum. They competed with the other pep club, the Panther Kittens, and they all "yelled their heads off" at ballgames. On September 27, 1930, Jo had her first date with future husband, Chuck Barnhart. From that time on, their courting consisted of him walking from Rock Island Road in East Wenatchee to her house on Adams Street, a distance of over three miles, then walking her to the movie and back and then walking home to East Wenatchee again! They became engaged in 1934.

Jo's father was ill during her teen years, so Nelle became the sole support for the family as an operator for the Farmer's Telephone Exchange. The family moved to the corner of Fifth and Mission during the Great Depression, and times were tough. During the summer before her senior year, Jo worked at Wenatchee Produce where she packed cherries in a cold storage room for 15 cents an hour. By working she was able to afford her senior pictures, and that year she was asked to be in the May Pole Dance during Apple Blossom, so sister Nelle paid for material for the green organdy dress her mother sewed.

Just before graduation, Chief Telephone Operator, Gina Flaa, discovered that one of her operators was secretly married, so she was fired, and Jo, with her sister's help, got the job. She trained for a month without pay, and started looking for an apartment for the family so that Nelle could have her independence. She found one at the Cain Apartments, just across from the telephone office on Chelan Street. It was there her father died in January, 1936.

She married high school sweetheart, Charles W. "Chuck" Barnhart on June 13, 1936, at the First Baptist Church at the corner of Chelan and First Street. They would have been married 70 years this June 13. Sister Nelle was Maid of Honor, and Chuck's brother Russ was Best Man. Jo's cousin Evelyn and Chuck's sister, Gladys, lit the candles. His littlest sister, Betty, carried the ring. Chuck was running an orchard near Rock island leased from the bank, and a house was furnished, so Chuck, Jo and her mother moved there following a wedding trip to Prosser to see Jo's Aunt Olivia. Jo was making $17.50 a week to pay for their Ford Model A coupe, mother Della cleaned house, and Chuck's income paid living expenses.

They took out a loan in 1936, paid $525 for lumber, plumbing and electrical materials and built their four-room house on Rock Island Road on property given to them as a wedding present by Chuck's parents. In 1949 they added on to the house. They lived in their house continuously to the present. In 1940, son Edward Allen was born, and Jo stopped working outside the home to become a mother and housewife. Four years later, son Neil Charles was born.

Jo was a member of the First Baptist Church and later the Wenatchee Valley Church of the Brethren. Jo was the consummate homemaker, baking bread, preparing meals, washing and ironing, and tending her family. She served on the local election board, hand counting ballots into the wee hours during elections. She was a member of the Band Mothers for the East Wenatchee schools, and helped sew the first junior high band uniforms. During her lifetime they took family vacations, frequently to California where Chuck's relatives had moved. When the boys left home, Chuck and Jo joined several bowling leagues. They traveled extensively throughout the US, Canada and Mexico as well as to 13 European countries. They belonged to the Elks and the Eagles and knew how to "cut a rug!" They spent several winters in Arizona.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Will in 1936, and Della in 1949, her sister Elizabeth in 1913, two years before Jo was born, her sister, Nelle Johnson Schultz in 1970, and all of her uncles and aunts. She is survived by her husband in Wenatchee, two sons, Ed, a full-time RVer, currently in Wenatchee with his wife, Rachel; and Neil, of Prescott Valley, AZ, with his wife JoLynne; grandchildren Scott Barnhart and wife Gisela, Charlotte Hall, Maryland; Heather Otey and husband Dean, Chandler, Arizona; Robbin Lee and husband Doug, Laurel, Mississippi; and Eric Barnhart Keane and wife Emily, Tonasket, Washington; and 11 grandchildren: Michael Nehr and Jeffrey Barnhart, both in Germany; Andrew and Brandon Barnhart in Maryland; Lauren, Benjamin and Nathan Otey in Arizona; Landon and Carstell Lee in Mississippi; and Katie and Daniel Keane in Tonasket, Washington.

At her request there will be no public service. Memorials in her name may be made to the charity of your choice.

Family Members






  • Maintained by: Ed Barnhart
  • Originally Created by: Teresa
  • Added: 17 May 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 26881220
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mary Josephine “Jo” Johnson Barnhart (5 Sep 1915–20 May 2006), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26881220, citing Evergreen Memorial Park, East Wenatchee, Douglas County, Washington, USA ; Maintained by Ed Barnhart (contributor 47151681) .