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Mary Lou Barnett

May 29, 2023


Mary Lou Barnett of Normandy passed away peacefully on May 29, 2023. She will be forever remembered as a loving mother, devoted wife, and most dedicated teacher.

Born Nov. 21, 1931, in Washington, DC during the Great Depression, Mary Lou rolled Easter eggs annually as a child on the White House lawn with her sister, Shirley, and attended Randle Elementary School near Pennsylvania Avenue just down the street from the Capitol.

Mary Lou graduated from Anacostia High School (D.C.) in 1949 a year early to get married at the age of 17 to become a military wife. They moved to Tullahoma in 1955, then settled on a farm near Normandy in 1965. She was a devoted wife for 64 years to her husband, Jim, and together they had four children. She was a loving mother and a most impactful grandmother, and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren meant the world to her.

Once her youngest son was off to college, Mary Lou attended Motlow State Community College and MTSU, graduating from both with a perfect 4.0 GPA and honors. She then taught third grade at Cascade Elementary from 1984 until she retired in June of 1996. She loved supporting and assisting her daughter, Carol, who taught children with special needs, and the loss of Carol at the age of 53 was most devasting for her. Mary Lou enjoyed traveling the country with her husband, with their camper and his horse in tow, stopping at every national park and scenic opportunity they could find. Mary Lou often assisted in an official capacity at 50-mile AERC endurance horse races while faithfully supporting her husband, who competed nationally. Mary Lou loved to read, watch the Titans play, and she was a big fan of Steve Harvey on Family Feud. She additionally was a fiercely competitive cribbage player, even at the age of 90.

A devoted member of the First United Methodist Church in Tullahoma, Mary Lou was very thankful for her church family everywhere she attended over the years. Not being able to attend regularly in person these past few years was very hard for her, but she was thankful for the livestreamed worship services and those who visited her. She was loved and adored by many, and it was always special to her when a former co-worker or student would stop in for a visit. It was also not uncommon to find someone on the staff at the Life Care Center stopping by her room to learn more about the books she was reading, catch up on the Titan’s score, discuss current events, or to just get a smile. Mary Lou and her family are very thankful for those who so lovingly cared for her during her final years.

Mary Lou was proceeded in death by her husband, James T. Barnett (1929-2013); parents, Harry L. Stebbin (1906- 1997) & Frances L. (Thomas) Stebbin (1910-1998); daughter, Carol A. Barnett (1954-2007); and her sister, Shirley May Krebeck (1932-2012).

She is survived by her three sons Larry Barnett (Libby; Normandy), Dale Barnett (Liz; Shelbyville), Duane Barnett (Nina; Mocksville, N.C.); eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren – Marc (Shelley, and children Addison and Collin; Normandy), Ellen (Michael; Roanoke, V.A.), Claire (Noah; Hillsville, V.A.), Beatrice (Lyles, Tenn,), Mary Frances (Dalton; Clarksville) and James (Normandy,); Jordan and Meagan (Murfreesboro). Nieces and nephews – Zak (Chris) Krebeck (Easton, M.D.); Cheryl Krebeck (Easton, M.D.); Eric (Anne) Krebeck (Newburgh, Maine); Bret (Martha) Krebeck (Independence, K.Y.), and their families.

Visitation will be at the Tullahoma Funeral Home on Saturday, June 17, from 4-6 p.m., and the memorial service will be held at FUMC in Tullahoma on Sunday, June 18, at 2 p.m. Director of Sr. Ministry, Esther Sims, will officiate the service and the internment will be held at the Oakwood Cemetery family plot in Tullahoma.

The family asks that donations in Mary Lou’s name be considered in lieu of flowers and gifts to the Henry Center FUMC of Tullahoma at (931) 455-5447, the TPA Mary Lou Barnett memorial scholarship fund at (931) 225-1123, or the AERC Anne Ayala scholarship fund at (866) 271-2372.