Marvin Barnett, 82, of Gem, KS, died Wednesday, February 22, 2023. He was a Husband, Father, Grandfather, Farmer, Rancher and serial Entrepreneur. But first and foremost, Marvin loved the Lord.
Marvin was born on January 12, 1941, to Ralph and Velma Barnett on their family’s farm north of Gem, KS, where he grew up with his older brother, Ron, and his younger brother, Bill. Their parents taught the boys the value of hard work, and how to work on a farm.
But Marvin was also mischievous, such as the time he watched a movie about Mohicans, after which he gave himself a reverse Mohawk haircut and shaved his eyebrows, the day before grade school pictures.
Marvin graduated from Colby High School, Colby, KS, in 1959, where he played football and was active in plays. He loved riding horses.
Colby High is where he met the love of his life, Alberta Schielke “Topper”, whom he married shortly after graduation, and with whom he had two strong, smart and successful daughters.
Marvin attended Kansas State University, considering the study of veterinary medicine. So, Marvin and Topper moved to Manhattan. But his business and traveling spirit took him on another path.
Shortly after Kansas State, Marvin owned and managed gas stations, first in Atwood, KS and then in downtown Wichita. He also attended trade school and earned an associate degree in drafting.
While Marvin and Topper were in Wichita in the 1960’s, Marvin began to work for the Pinkerton Detective Agency. As part of this job, Marvin occasionally worked with Vern Miller, the Sedgwick County Sheriff, who eventually became the Kansas Attorney General. He also worked as a store detective for G.E.M., in Wichita and Wichita Falls, TX.
Marvin went back into business, as a salesman for Speed King, selling agricultural related equipment, beginning in Dodge City, but eventually Marvin and Topper went to Georgia. Marvin loved sales. In his sales career, Marvin sold all over the Midwestern and Eastern U.S., plus across Canada. For example, he called on a Georgia farm, run by Billy and Jimmy Carter, who eventually became the U.S. President.
Marvin was hired away by Kraus Manufacturing, again in agricultural sales, and was transferred to Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Marvin was lured back to Kansas by R & R Manufacturing, in Pratt, KS, where he became the general manager of its manufacturing operations. While in Pratt, Marvin started farming again and had a hog operation.
In the early 1980’s, Marvin’s brother Bill decided to begin a full-time Christian ministry, so Marvin and Topper moved back to Gem, to take over the family farm. Marvin was a very successful farmer.
But Marvin still had his business spirits. Marvin and Topper started an over the road trucking company, M & A Barnett Trucking, Co. The company eventually had multiple trucks, running over the road, coast to coast, all operated out of a converted garage north of Gem. Marvin and topper eventually sold the trucking company and for the last few years have been retired from farming, enjoying watching their daughters become strong professional women, and their grandson become an engineer.
Marvin was predeceased by his father Ralph Woodrow Barnett; his mother, Velma Florene (Schiffer) Barnett; and his brother Ralph William Barnett.
He is survived by his wife, Alberta Clara (Schielke) Barnett and brother Ronald Ray Barnett (Norma), of Eaton, CO. He is also survived by his daughter, Debra Lee Barnett (William Woolley), of Wichita; daughter, Deanna Louise Barnett (Tom Short), of Dodge City; Deb and William’s son; Tom’s children; and foster daughter, Kim Fiedler (Bill), of Lansing, KS.
A private family memorial service will take place. The family requests that you make a donation to the charity of your choice, in Marvin’s name and memory. For information or condolences visit www.baalmannmortuary.com