Ronald Paul Barnett

February 7, 1931June 20, 2020

Ronald Paul Barnett was born in Los Angeles, CA on February 7, 1931, to Herbert Gerald Barnett and Elsa Margaret Barnett. Ron lived a very adventurous childhood. As a boy, he maintained a paper route. At the age of 14 and after saving $500, he bought his first car – a 1934 Ford Coupe – and he proceeded to hot rod it out. Three months later, he lost his license due to drag racing. His parents took away his keys so he learned to hotwire the car thus negating the need for the keys. Thus would begin his love affair with cars. On June 16, 1957, Ron was driving to his parents’ house when he saw “THE 1957 T-BIRD” displayed in the showroom of Crenshaw Motors. Ron bought it on the spot and owned this car until his death. Ron joined the California Air National Guard and began the process of obtaining his Airframe and Engine (A&E) License. The National Guard was activated by the US Air Force during the Korean War and Ron was stationed in Iceland where he primarily worked on the P-51 Mustang aircraft. Following the Korean War, he worked for North American Aviation on the F-86. At age 22, he went to work at Western Airlines as a mechanic. While there, he completed his A&E license. Ron applied to and was accepted into the Flight Engineer program with TWA. He obtained his Flight Engineer ticket in December 1954 from Spartan School of Aeronautics. He began work as a TWA Flight Engineer in April 1955 and flew for 33 years, retiring in 1988. During this stellar career, he served as Flight Engineer on all models of the Lockheed Constellation (aka Connies), Flight Engineer on the Lockheed L-1011, Flight Engineer and Relief Co-Pilot on the Boeing 747 and Co-Pilot on the Boeing 707-131 and 707-331 models. He flew coast to coast and all destinations in between. He flew many international routes to such destinations as London, Paris, Shannon, Bombay, Hong Kong, Guam, Saigon, Honolulu, Rome, Frankfurt and Canada. Ron married JoAn Howland, a TWA stewardess, in 1958 and they remained married for 62 years until her death in 2019. They settled on Molokai Place in Costa Mesa and soon added a son (Greg) and a daughter (Paula) to their family. Throughout their lifetime, they travelled extensively. They both enjoyed playing Bridge and did so often with friends. They were members of Mesa Verde United Methodist Church and enjoyed fellowship there. After Ron retired, he completed a full restoration on his 1957 T-Bird. He also did a partial restoration on his 1967 Mustang Fastback. Ron & JoAn were very active in the local T-Bird club attending many Concourse car shows and routinely winning many awards, including Best of Show. Ron was active in the Exchange Club of Newport Harbor; he was passionately patriotic and worked many hours promoting Americanism. Ron was also an avid woodworker. He was a craftsman with very high standards; his work was always detailed and flawless. Many of the upgrades made to their house were made by Ron. Ron was known by many as a jokester…my favorite was the tripping on a curb trick…until the time he actually did trip on a curb. His grandkids loved this side of him. Ron has been heard to say that he has had one car, one wife and one house for 62 years. That’s quite an accomplishment and a life well lived. Ron is preceded in death by his wife, JoAn. He is survived by his son Gregory (Liz) Barnett; his daughter Paula (Steve) Sankey; grandsons Sean, Ryan and Kyle Barnett and granddaughters Nicole and Lauren Sankey.

Our love for you is not written on paper, for it can be erased. Nor is our love for you etched in stone, for stone can be broken. But our love for you is inscribed in our hearts, where it shall remain forever.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Ronald Paul Barnett

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Diana Rockwood

June 25, 2020

You are in my prayers Paula and Greg. May your dad Rest In Peace with your mom. Diana