Mary Janet Barnett
October 26, 1927 – June 25, 2020
BARNETT - Mary Janet (nee Connelly) June 25, 2020. Beloved wife of the late Donald J. Barnett, who predeceased her in death, November of 2016; dear mother of Timothy M. (Lucy), Kevin D. (Mihaela), Thomas S. (Lisa), Maureen E. (Michael) Betz, Peter J., Mary Patricia Barnett (Jim Beck), John (Isolde) Barnett; also survived by 15 grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren. No prior visitation. Family and friends are invited to attend a Mass of Christian Burial, from St. Benedict RC Church, Tuesday at 9:15 AM. Memorials may be made to Hospice Buffalo, Inc., or the Alzheimer’s Association of NY. Visit www.denglerrobertspernafuneral.com
Mary Janet (Connelly) Barnett - October 26, 1927 - June 25, 2020
Mary Janet (Connelly) Barnett, passed away Thursday surrounded by family, in Hospice Buffalo after a courageous battle with Alzheimer's. She was 92 and would need each of those 33, 846 days for what she was about to accomplish. Born in Syracuse, NY to Albert and Mae (Grogan) Connelly, Janet, as she was known professionally and to friends, moved to Western New York at age 14. Janet was a serial creator and grand romantic, initially demonstrated in ballet and public piano recitals of note. Graduating from The Holy Angels Academy in 1945, Janet pursued her lifelong love of the arts and matriculated to the College of New Rochelle where in 1949 she received a Bachelors of Science degree with a major in Art. Cherished collector's pieces to this day, Janet fully illustrated both her high school and college yearbooks. As well, Janet's remarkable ability earned a scholarship to continue her post-graduate studies in Rome, Italy.
Developing what was becoming her distinct signature genre, Janet Connelly became a sought-after fashion illustrator and created unmistakable brand and couture images for Flint & Kent, Adam Meldrum and Anderson, Hengerer's and many more Buffalo area specialty stores. It was remarked frequently that her sense of personal style even trumped her magnificent sketches. Ever curious, always interested, her art continuously transformed and was never limited to one medium or essence Oils, charcoals pastels, watercolors, quilting gave way to sculpture and to pen and ink.
In 1953 Janet embarked on her next opus and was married to Donald J. Barnett, a vaunted union that would ultimately span 63 prominent years and bear the fruit of seven children: Timothy, Kevin, Thomas, Maureen, Peter, Mary Patricia and Donald 'John', Jr. Together, this striking, intrepid couple forged ahead in family, in faith, in civic and social endeavors and navigated the 1950's through 2016 side by side. For a girl that grew up in Eggertsville, NY, and living until death on the same small street of only eleven homes and implausibly having lived in three of them, one might think that Janet was not interested in going very far, but nothing could have been further from the truth. Donald and Janet traveled the world, many times. Whether delighting in art galleries in New York City, retracing and painting in Van Gogh's footsteps in France, discovering antiquities in Italy or exploring family origins in County Cork, Ireland, Janet's passion for beauty, art and experience was enabled by a relentless spirit and astonishing strength belying her 96 pounds and slight stature. Discovering that she had 100% Irish roots was simply a bonus.
Janet shared a deep faith with the love of her life, Donald, an executive with the Buffalo Courier-Express and civic fixture, who died in November of 2016. She was a member of St. Benedict RC Church since 1941 and was regularly a women's division chairperson in the Catholic Charities annual appeal. Janet's perpetual zeal and focus on the greater community prompted tireless efforts as she volunteered at Sheehan Memorial Hospital, the Seton Guild, created fundraising art pieces for Gilda's Club and breast cancer research, was a foster grandparent and, through her 90th year, was serving the needy at the soup kitchen at St. Vincent De Paul.
Janet was a long-time board member of the Albright-Knox art Gallery, a liaison to the Junior Group, founder and former chairperson of 'Rockin' at the Knox, and a docent at both Albright-Knox and Burchfield Penney Art Center.
Donald and Janet were active socially with an adored Rolodex of lasting, legendary and meaningful friendships. It was family however, that Janet loved most and was perhaps, her finest composition. Holidays at home --Christmas being of particular joy-- special occasions at the Cherry Hill Club, sharing vacation travel with family members or simply a quiet visit, were sublime for this family matriarch. Her family was also a source of great inspiration. Growing to fifteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, each birthday, seminal event or anniversary was celebrated with portraits, artwork and cards designed specifically to commemorate, with each piece eagerly anticipated and equally treasured. Janet was irrepressible, guided by a sweet disposition, and principled with an uncommon resolve, in other words a perfect teacher for the children of her life. Janet created characters, story lines and poems while cherishing each moment of instructing the next generation to draw, express and create.
With a prodigious catalog of work, Janet also authored and illustrated innumerable short stories and many children's books.
Mary Janet Barnett, a singular artist, daughter, wife, mother and friend, was famously and frequently heard to softly and discreetly declare, "I don't want to stick my nose in, but..."; her memorable though thinly-veiled aspiration to absolutely and completely stick her nose in, while delivering it with requisite aplomb that no dissent or rebuttal could be considered. Externally her fundamental objective was of course, to open communication, impart a lesson, or even strong-arm a temporarily flailing offspring, in-law or grandchild and to provide perspective, create possibilities (often a road less traveled) and prescribe what just might be the best for paramount results. Perhaps however, it was more, much more: a secret life source and underscoring of the drive, the fire, and a manifestation of her superpower Getting involved and staying involved. What was learned from this monumentally lived life of nearly 816,000 hours is that each moment is precious and each was required to complete Janet's incredible bestowal of love, creation, achievement and embracing and promulgating God's gifts. So, Godspeed Janet, you will be remembered and loved well, we are all so very blessed to have had you stick your nose in.
Mass of Christian Burial
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
No Prior Visitation
Mary Janet Barnett
July 4, 2020
My sincere condolences to the entire Barnett family. Janet was one of the driving forces for the children’s audio book published by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, An Adventure in Looking and Listening. She and I worked in a delightful collaboration to produce the fanciful characters and story line for this illustrated visit to the art museum. Janet was a remarkable woman. I cherish my memories of her and will miss her always.
July 2, 2020
Best wishes to all the Barnett family on your mom's passing. Emmett Peterson
June 30, 2020
So sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with your entire family.