Marvin Barnett, 82, of Gem, KS, died Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. He was a husband, father, grandfather, farmer, rancher, and serial entrepreneur. But above all, 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 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, like the time he saw a movie about the Mohicans, after which he cut his hair backwards and shaved off his eyebrows, the day before the elementary school pictures.
Marvin graduated from Colby High School, Colby, KS, in 1959, where he played football and was active in comedy. He loved to go horse riding.
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, intelligent and successful daughters.
Marvin attended Kansas State University, considering studying veterinary medicine. So, Marvin and Topper moved to Manhattan. But his business and travel spirit led him to another path.
Shortly after Kansas State, Marvin owned and operated gas stations, first in Atwood, KS and then in downtown Wichita. He also attended trade school and earned a degree in drawing.
While Marvin and Topper were in Wichita in the 1960s, Marvin began working 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 has also worked as a shop detective for GEM, in Wichita and Wichita Falls, TX.
Marvin was back in business, as a salesman for Speed King, selling farm equipment, starting in Dodge City, but Marvin and Topper eventually went to Georgia. Marvin loved sales. In his sales career, Marvin has sold throughout the Midwest and Eastern United States, as well as throughout Canada. For example, he named a farm in Georgia, run by Billy and Jimmy Carter, who eventually became the president of the United States.
Marvin was hired by Kraus Manufacturing, still in farm sales, and relocated 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 at Pratt, Marvin started farming again and ran a hog operation.
In the early 1980s, Marvin’s brother Bill decided to enter a full-time Christian ministry, so Marvin and Topper returned to Gem to take over the family farm. Marvin was a very successful farmer.
But Marvin still had his business spirit. Marvin and Topper started a road trucking company, M & A Barnett Trucking, Co. The company eventually had multiple trucks, running the road, coast to coast, all operated out of a converted garage north of Gem. Marvin and topper eventually sold the trucking company and retired from farming in their later years, enjoying watching their daughters grow into strong professional women and their grandson become an engineer.
Marvin predeceased 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), from Dodge City; Deb and William’s son; Tom’s children; and adopted daughter, Kim Fiedler (Bill), of Lansing, KS.
A private family memorial service will take place. The family asks you to donate to a charity of your choice, in Marvin’s name and memory. For information or condolences visit www.baalmannmortuary.com