Mr. Barnhart passed away on Thursday October 21, 2021 in Nacogdoches. He was born on March 5, 1922 in Cushing, Texas.
Eugene (E.O.) grew up as a farm boy in Cushing, TX, with a love for the outdoors. He told tales of swinging over the river in a bucket, riding horses, ploughing, hunting, fishing, riding in wagons to church, and enjoying taffy pulls with his friends and family. The youngest of five siblings, he left for San Diego, California, as a young man and built airplanes in World War II.
After the war, Eugene worked briefly as a truck driver. Soon, however, he found a position as a welder at the Eastern States refinery in Houston. He worked there for the rest of his career as the company was sold to various entities, and he completed his career there as a safety supervisor for Charter Oil, International.
In 1946, he married Norma Jo Watson, with whom he recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. They lived in Pasadena, TX, for 50 years and have resided in Nacogdoches, TX, for the past 25 years. They had one child Rebecca and one grandson Aaron Manahan.
Gene loved to work in the yard and took great pride in keeping his St. Augustine pristinely trimmed and his hedges clipped. Due to his great talent for understanding spatial relationships, even after he went blind with macular degeneration in 2004, he could still ride his lawnmower and weed eat the yard for many years. No one really minded if the occasional small plant disappeared. Gene exemplified “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Through all the vagaries of old age, he maintained a kind spirit.
Before he lost his vision, Gene loved to hunt and fish, and many amusing tales arose from his hunting and fishing with brothers and friends.
Gene was a member of Cushing 911 Masonic Lodge, 32nd Degree Scottish Rite, Houston, Texas. He was a member of Arabian Shrine Temple out of Houston and Sharon Shrine Temple in Tyler. He was also a member of the Nacogdoches Shrine Club, of which he was the past Vice President.
Eugene was raised as a Baptist and remained a Baptist until his later years when he joined the First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches. As an older person, he truly enjoyed the television sermons of Dr. Charles Stanley.
Gene is survived by his wife Norma Jo Barnhart, daughter Rebecca Kemble (Roy), grandson Aaron Manahan (Crystal), and two granddaughters Melody and Willow Manahan.
He was preceded in death by his parents Levi and Lidie (Armstrong) Barnhart, sisters Odell Ivy and Welcie Owens, and brothers Abie Barnhart and Sam Barnhart. He believed strongly in keeping in touch with his family and did his best to communicate with as many as he could, even if only by phone.
Serving as pallbearers are Aaron Manahan, Roy Kemble, Jeff Barnhart, Mark Ivy, Brad Pertl, Jimmy Watson, Jim Hollan, and Dennis Schafstall.
Honorary pallbearer is his nephew Bruce Ivy.
Funeral services for Eugene Barnhart, 99, of Nacogdoches were held at 11 a.m. on Monday, October 25, 2021 at Laird Funeral Home. Interment will follow at McKinght Cemetery. Visitation was held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Monday, October 25, 2021 at Laird Funeral Home.