The Reverend Doctor Ralph Charles Barnett Jr. was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on April 10th, 1930, to the late Edith and Ralph Barnett Sr. He departed this life at age 93 on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, in Lexington, Kentucky.
Rev. Barnett was raised in the West End community known as “Queens Gate.” He attended Cincinnati public schools where he grew up with a passion for learning and a deep sense of community. As a young man during the Korean War, he served his country with honor. This experience shaped his commitment to duty and service. He served six years in the U.S. Army where he was awarded the title of Sergeant First Class.
After the war, he pursued higher education, earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati and two degrees in Architectural Engineering from Columbia University. Lastly, an honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Hopkinsville Bible College
Rev. Barnett’s degree in Architectural Engineering led to his employment with the Architecture Firm Smith and Shaffer. This led him to become a respected engineer and innovator in his field. In the mid 70’s Ralph went on to operate his own firm, Barnett Interior Design Company. Throughout his successful career, he contributed significantly to numerous projects around the U.S., leaving a lasting impact on the industries he worked in.
Rev. Barnett was a talented musician having spent countless hours mastering the art of percussion as well as learning to play the piano. He graced many stages across the states. He played with various jazz artists such as Cab Calloway, Louie Armstrong, and Miles Davis. His skills were also captured on video when he played for the Uncle Al Show, a popular children’s television program originating in Cincinnati.
He said he felt the divine calling to share the Gospel while devoting his life to ministry and teaching in the 1980s. His journey in spreading God’s word began after he completed his theological studies at Temple Bible College here in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he later taught. While being an ordained minister he embarked on a lifelong mission to guide others toward spiritual enlightenment and salvation.
Rev. Barnett’s ministry was marked by an unwavering commitment to his faith and a profound understanding of the Holy Bible. His sermons were delivered with eloquence and sincerity and touched every heart of those who listened. He had a unique ability to communicate complex theological concepts with simplicity, while making the Scriptures accessible and relatable to people from all walks of life.
Beyond the pulpit, he found great joy in teaching the Holy Bible. For many years he served as a beloved Bible teacher. Sharing his wisdom and knowledge with countless individuals eager to deepen their understanding of God’s word. His passion for teaching was contagious, and he inspired many to embark on their own spiritual journeys.
Aside from his professional accomplishments, his greatest source of pride was his family. As a father, he was a pillar of support and encouragement to his children, always imparting valuable life lessons and instilling in them the importance of hard work and integrity. He took immense delight in watching his children grow and was equally delighted to become a doting grandfather and great-grandfather.
Rev. Barnett’s kindness and compassion extended beyond his immediate family. He was a pillar of strength and comfort for his friends, while offering solace during times of sorrow and celebrating moments of joy. His generosity knew no bounds, as he dedicated himself to serving the needs of others in the community. He never met a stranger and left every life touched by his ability to connect with others. Whether it be his love for the Lord, music, art or sports, he collected friends and experiences at every chance. He had a story for any occasion as well as a personal map to any destination. His curious mind was always seeking knowledge and enlightenment and inspiring those around him to embrace learning with the same enthusiasm. His impact on the lives he touched will forever be remembered. He leaves behind a legacy of faith, love and strength.
Rev. Barnett was preceded in death by his son Rev. Ralph Barnett III.
He leaves behind to cherish his 93-year legacy: Carolyn Barnett (wife) of 39 years; his six children, Phyllis Collier (Steven), Cincinnati OH; Brenda Hodges-Davis (Roger) Hamilton, OH; Marcus Hayes, Cincinnati OH; Charles Barnett, Columbus OH; Varah Barnett, Lexington, KY; Lydia Barnett, Frankfort, KY; and many grand, great-grandchildren, and other relatives and friends.