Barnett, born July 9, 1905 near La Plata, MO, was the son of George Milton
and Mary Robena (Lyda) Barnett. He and Mauretta Louise Baity of La Plata
married August 25, 1926 and raised two daughters, Jane Louise and Mary Flo,
before her death in 1957. His second marriage, June 21, 1958, was to Martha
Virginia (Broadus) Wilkins. Otho died in Kirksville September 5, 1979 and
was buried at Maple Hills Cemetery.
graduating from La Plata High School in 1923, Otho began working on a
Bachelor of Science in Education at Northeast Missouri State
Teachers College (now Truman State University), Kirksville. He
left to teach at Leadwood, MO for one year, 1925-26, then returned
to Kirksville and taught at Kirksville Junior High School while
completing his degree. After it was awarded in 1928, he
transferred to the senior high school to teach Industrial Arts. He
was also the KHS basketball coach.
received his Master of Arts from the University of Missouri the summer of
1939 and that fall accepted a position as Professor of Industrial Arts at
Northeast. He was named Head of the newly organized Division of Practical
Arts in 1942 and continued in that position until his retirement with
emeritus status in 1968. During World War II, Barnett served as supervisor
of the college Aviation Cadet Program and in 1955 started the state’s first
college training program for high school drivers’ education teachers. From
1953 till 1968, years of considerable campus expansion, he was coordinator
of the college building program.
Barnett worked actively with the young people of the
community, serving as a Boy Scout troop leader and as a public school
football and basketball referee for over twenty years. He was a member and
long-time officer of the Kirksville Rotary Club and served several terms on
the Kirksville Planning and Zoning Commission. He was also a member of the
Missouri and Mississippi Valley Industrial Education Associations.
death, the Otho Barnett Memorial Scholarship for students from La Plata was
established and in 1982, the Industrial Education Building was renamed
Barnett Hall in his honor.