Thomas C. Barnett, 75, passed away Friday, February 14, 2020, at Lutheran Life Villages, South Anthony. Born August 24, 1944 in Wilmington, DE, Tom had called Fort Wayne his home for the past 24 years. He moved to Fort Wayne to become the CEO of Paragon Steel and remained there, with wonderful colleagues, until his retirement in 2009.
Tom enlisted in the US Army in 1967 and graduated from Officer Candidate School as a second Lieutenant. He served in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader and was active in the reserves until the mid-1970’s, achieving the rank of Captain. He was very proud of his military service and often talked about how much it shaped his life.
The testing he took before he left the Army said that he should either be in politics or in sales. He chose sales, which had made his wife and family very happy, but was also very enthusiastic about politics. Tom was a warm and gregarious man who laughed easily, a talented artist, mixed a mean cocktail, read Civil War history and was a reenactor for the War of 1812, loved Jeopardy, and enjoyed golf and golfing. He played as long as he could, and even had a Jack Nicklaus story. Tom also had a large selection of unusual socks which became his trademark later in life. He was a religious man and an active member of First Presbyterian Church (Fort Wayne), well into his Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis.
He is survived by his loving wife of 51 years, Anne T. Barnett; daughters Erin (Eric Hetherington) Barnett of Maplewood, NJ, and Lesley Barnett currently of Fort Wayne; sisters-in-law Susan (Brinton) Strode of Leland, NC and Judy Barnett of Wesley Chapel, FL. He is preceded in death by his mother, Mildred S. Lowery, and brother, James C. Barnett. Memorial service is at 2:00pm on Friday, February 21 at First Presbyterian Church, 300 W. Wayne Street, Ft. Wayne (IN 46802), with visitation from 12:30pm prior. Reception to follow immediately after the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to the Alzheimer’s Association.