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The Late Mr Barnett.

SUDDEN DEATH AT PALMERSTON NORTH.

As a rule news of the sudden leath of a man or woman who has )assed the three score and ten nilestone in life does not occasion i great deal of surprise, for after ill comparatively few people are .pared to exceed that age by nore than a very few years, rhe announcement of the death rf Mr John Barnett, of "Deep Spring," Leeston, came as a great surprise and a painfully ludden shock to the whole district, and by none was the news received with greater surprise than by the members of his own household and those who enjoyed an intimate friendship with him. It was stated in Saturday's " Guardian " that Mr Barnett had left on a visit to the North Island last Thursday and that he expected to be away for about a month He was accompanied by Mrs Barnett. The trip was arranged mainly for the purpose of visiting relatives in the North Island, one of Mr Barnett's sons, Mr Gordon Barnett, being a farmer at Okorbire, while another son's wife, Mrs Dr Barnett, resides at Palmerston North,, the doctor having recently left for the front.. Although Mr Barnett had admitted at various times that his heart was not as sound as it was a few years ago, no anxiety was felt

concerning his state of health, either by himself or the members of his family. Mr and Mrs Barnett had evidently reached the first stage of their journey and were staying with Dr Barnett's wife at Palmerston North. A message from the north states that Mr Barnett expired suddenly while attending service in the Methodist Church on Sunday evening. The body was placed on board the ferry steamer at Wellington last night and will reach " Deep Spring " to-day. The late Mr Barnett was probably the best known resident in the Ellesm'ere district and certainly no man in the district has gained and truly merited the love and respect of a larger number of the people. He has for very many years taken a most keen and active interest in all matters pertaining to the welfare of Ellesmere in general and Leeston in particular and his familiar figure will be sadly missed in various spheres of activity. He was a public spirited citizen in the truest sense of the term. Born in the parish of St. Samson, Chicklade, in the County of Wiltshire, on November 27th, 1843, the late Mr Barnett came but to New Zealand with his parents in the " Bangalor," at the age of seven years. His first home was at Tai Tapu, where his father was gardener to Colonel the Hon R. Heaton Rhodes's father. He bore his share of the trials and hardships of pioneering life bravely and was able to tell many interesting stories of incidents that had happened in those days. At a Tai Tapu gathering a year or two ago he told how he had at regular intervals carried the basket of butter over the hills to Governor's Bay and thence to Lyttelton where it was marketed. The late Mr Barnett was married in November, 1863, by the Rev W. Kirk, of Nelson, to Miss La wry, a sister of the Rev 5. Lawry, at present resident in Christchurch. Some 49 years ago he struck out for himself and acquired his present farm near Leeston. In those days there were but few residents in the Leeston district and the land was for the most part undrained swamp. Mr Barnett was, however, a pioneer of the good old type, and as time went on he improved his holding until it is now one of the finest properties in the EUesmere county. Notwithstanding the trials and hardships of those days Mr and Mrs Barnett reared a large family, ten of whom, four daughters and six sons, survive. Two of the sons, Messrs G. H. and F. H. Barnett, are still residents of Leeston. The eldest son, Arthur, resides at Morven, Gordon is farming at Okoroire, Leonard is at the front and Dr Ernest Barnett, formerly of Taihape, but lately of Palmerston North, who has for some years been recognised as one of the foremost surgeons in the Dominion, left for the front with the 26th Reinforcements. The late Mr Barnett's first wife passed away 23 years ago and some 12 years ago he married another Miss Lawry, who, as stated above, accompanied her husband on his visit to the north. For nearly 30 years the late Mr Barnett was intimately associated with the progress of the dairying industry. He was one of the original shareholders of the Canterbury Central Dairy Company and had been a director since the formation of the company and for about 23 years was chairman, which position he held up to the date of his death. He gave an enormous amount of time to the affairs of the company; indeed, it probably claimed more attention than his own private business affairs. It gave him a very great deal of pleasure to be able to present a ajood report and a substantial bonus to the shareholders aud suppliers at :he end of the year and the position he has so long held with f

profic to the company will bo hard to fill. In addition, Mr Barnett was a director of the South Island Dairy Association, and a good deal of hisj time was occupied in attendijif^ meetings of the association at DiSw edin. He was one of the originaV^ members of the EUesmcre A. and P. ■ Association and a past president of the society. For years he served on the Ellesmere Licensing Committee, the Leeston School Committee and various other local bodies, and in every cisc his sound judgment proved invaluable. Mr Barnett took, a very special interest in the welfare of the Leeston township, and no one was more pleased to see , signs of progress than he. It was this interest in the township that led to the formation by himself and Mr C. Hicks of the Leeston Beautifying Association, of which Mr Barnett was president. He was mainly instrumental in securing the square for the people of Lceston, and although the property is not yet free of debt, the liability should soon vanish once peace is restored. It • was his desire that a memorial to the district's fallen soldiers should some day be erected on the square. No effort towards the beautifying of , the township by any citizen ever escaped his notice.

In no other sphere will Mr Barnett be more missed than, in connexion with the Methodist Church, for with him church and the higher duties of life had always been placed before everything. He had been a staunch Christian since he first settled in the district, and by everybody he was recognised as a man of integrity, straightforward and honest in all his dealings. As one of ■ the circuit stewards for very many years, he was the true friend and supporter of every Methodist minister ever stationed at Leeston. For 30 years he conducted a Sunday School at Doyleston, and it was a great pleasure to note how the children all loved and respected him. Many people, both in Ellesmere and elsewhere, V feel that they have lost a genuine friend by the death of Mr Barnett.

The interment takes place to- ? morrow afternoon at the Bishop's '^" corner cemetery, and will be pieceded by a short service at the Leeston Methodist Church. A memorial service is to be held at the Methodist Church next Sunday evening, when the Rev. A. C. Lawry, an old friend of the family, will take part.

IT'S not the table, the balls or the one that cause a man to lose at billiards; it'i the way he uses them. So in advertising, it's cot apt to be the fau't of your available instruments when you fail, but the way you an them.

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The Late Mr Barnett. Ellesmere Guardian, Volume XXIII, Issue 3900, 5 September 1917

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