A friend remembers George

Carol Sue Barnett is the sister of George’s long-time friend Wayne.  Here she shares her thoughts about George, Wayne, and their friendship.  That’s a young Wayne Barnett to the left.

Jane is correct that my older brother Wayne Barnett is a fine man, but I’d like to add that his friendship with George immeasurably contributed to Wayne’s accomplishments, as a student and as a minister.

Our parents raised us in the church, as they had been raised. On both sides, church had been an integral part of family life for generations. They were Disciples, Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians, but few lacked any church affiliation. Our Grandfather Barnett’s maternal grandfather had been an itinerant Baptist preacher. Upon Granddaddy Barnett’s parents’ marriage in 1859, his mother adopted his father’s church and became a Disciple (Christian Church, Disciples of Christ), the church in which we were raised.

To my knowledge, Wayne is the family’s first formally trained and ordained minister. (Our younger sister Sally Barnett McClain is the second.) I remember well Wayne’s teenaged announcement that when he grew up he wanted to be either a test pilot or a minister. This didn’t make much sense then, but now it does: both professions are all consuming and life threatening. Wayne’s myopia precluded his first choice. But his vision was sufficiently far-sighted for the ministry.

And that’s where George comes in. Wayne, not an exceptional student in high school—he was popular and busy with social activities, and he put in long hours on the family farm—has always credited George with teaching him to study. Once Wayne started spending hours each day with George, away from the farm’s demands, his analytical processes matured, and his grades improved.

But, even more important to his chosen profession, Wayne, through caring for George, learned attentiveness and compassion, essential qualifications for a minister’s calling, and they both approached Wayne’s job of getting George around and through his day with two other essential qualifications—good humor and determination. This was poignantly evident in LaDonna and Wayne’s marriage ceremony, at which George officiated. Upon being asked, George demurred, saying he had never before performed a marriage ceremony and that they should choose a minister who wasn’t disabled. LaDonna and Wayne countered that they hadn’t been married before, and that George should be their minister for that milestone. Faced with this challenge, George met it, courageously and eloquently, as he met all that came his way after his accident.

Accompanying our mother, I attended Wayne’s retirement service and celebration in September 2007 at the First Christian Church of Maysville, Kentucky. George and Jane, living in Texas, couldn’t attend, but they were present.  By his constant example, both in school and throughout their careers, George had helped teach Wayne to minister and to enjoy a loving relationship with his congregation and the community he served. On behalf of our family, I offer our gratitude.

2 thoughts on “A friend remembers George

  1. Lovely testimonial to two of God’s finest ministers – Wayne and George — and finest men. Great to touch base with LaDonna and Wayne again this year even in the worst circumstances. Nearly 20 years ago while doing research on Miles Withers Conway of Mason County KY, I phoned Wayne at his church to see if we could meet up – “Is this Cropper?” I said. “Only one family ever called me that,” Wayne said. “It’s got to be a Perrine.” In the long hours at George’s hospital bed, I was so grateful for the ministry the Barnetts provided to “Our Jane” and the loving prayers given to God on George’s behalf. My brother had hundreds of wonderful friends, but none better than Wayne Barnett. Blessings on you — the Perrine family “Cropper.”

  2. I can tel those who knew Wayne in college because they called him by that name I’m not allowed to use! I was so blessed to have his here for two weeks.

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