Jerald Murphy Barnett, 85, passed away at 4 p.m. on August 4, 2019. He died peacefully with his children and his caregiver present after several years with dementia. Jerald was born in St. Joe, Arkansas to Jana and Carl Barnett in 1933.
He moved to Harrison in junior high school. He loved to hunt, fish and play sports. While in high school he played football, basketball and golf, as well as guided float trips on the Buffalo River. He was recruited to play basketball for the Arkansas Razorbacks, where he was a 3 year captain, All Southwest Conference guard that led the Hogs in scoring two out of his three years. Sometime after 1970 Jerald would be inducted into the Arkansas Razorback Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 1956, he married his college sweetheart, Sonya Ann McClure. They moved to Little Rock and had four kids over the next seven years. Jerald began to shine in business during that period. He entered the insurance business and partnered with three others to start an insurance firm.
A few years later he became a partner in National Holding Company, which invested in several successful ventures, including the waste disposal business with several locations around the country. They operated other businesses as well including Concrete Redi mix, Vocational Technical Education, Mobile Home manufacturing and operated some forty other businesses throughout the United States; with the help of his assistant of forty years, Suzette Goodman.
As an avid golfer at the Maroon Creek Club in Aspen, he formed a group of fellow golfers to purchase the club and create what it is today.
Throughout his life, Jerald was honing his golf talents. In 1967, he would win the inaugural Arkansas State Match Play Championship. He loved to play Four Ball tournaments throughout the state and won many with various playing partners. He followed up his first win in the State Match Play Championship with another in 1969. He also was elected to the board of the Arkansas State Golf Association where served as President for two terms. In October of this year he will be inducted into the Arkansas Golf Hall of Fame.
Jerald began to travel in the 70’s and found a passion for the Rockies. He and a friend started with a house in Jackson Hole where he would take his kids to ski and ride snowmobiles. He truly loved the mountains and would eventually relocate to Aspen, which became his home away from Arkansas.
During this time he moved on to businesses with his children, Jerald, Jr., Brett, Lacy, and Bart. He was a great teacher, was always caring and genuinely interested in their lives and he ventured into the ladies clothing business, the outdoor sports industry, more vocational technical schools, and the auto auction industry.
In the late 80’s and 90’s Jerald could be found in the summers in Aspen. In the winters he would be hunting quail in Texas with his good friends.
Most importantly, Jerald was a great father. He helped all of his kids get into business and provide for their families. Jerald Barnett had amazing charisma and people were drawn to him. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. He never quit being happy while he was on this earth. He always found a way.
His legacy will always be the love he gave to his children and his amazing resilience throughout his life.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Jana and Carl Barnett, and Sonya Gunn. He is survived by his children, Jerald Murphy Barnett, Jr. and wife, Barbara, Gary Bret Barnett, Lacy Ann Fyrwald and husband, Ernie, William Bartley Barnett and wife, Anne; his grandchildren, Ben Barnett, Blake Barnett, Colter Barnett, Gage Barnett, Wyatt Barnett, Ryder Fyrwald, Gentry Fyrwald, Murphy Fyrwald, Carly Fyrwald, Sonya Barnett, and Blu Barnett.
Special thanks to Bud Grisham, Mike McCoy, and Jay Lawrence, Marsha Leboy, Rico, Louis, and Queenie.
Services were held Wednesday, August 7 at 10:00 a.m. at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church, and officiated by Rev. Jay Clark. A reception followed at the church.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, 34 Washington St., Ste 310, Wellesley Hills, MA 02481. Or donate online curealz.org
Arrangements by Little Rock Funeral Home, 8801 Knoedl Ct., (501)224-2200. Jerald’s online guestbook may be signed at www.littlerockfuneralhome.com.