In Memory of Councilwoman Karen Barnett

Councilmember Karen BarnettIt is with great sorrow that Mayor Steven W. Miller, Mayor Pro Tem Michael R. Zenchuk II, Councilwoman Dee Phillips, Councilman Kyle Whitaker, Councilman Jeff Wilbur, and City staff remember the life of Councilwoman Karen Barnett. We ask that you all join us in remembering our friend Karen, and pray for her family in the difficult times ahead.

Below is Councilwoman Barnett's obituary, provided by her family.

Karen J. Barnett, age 64, of Holly Springs, GA passed away Thursday, May 20, 2021 at Wellstar Kennestone Hospital from which she retired after providing 38 years of service. Mrs. Barnett was serving as city council woman for the City of Holly Springs, where she served 16 years.

Mrs. Barnett was preceded in death by her parents, Harold and Doris Johnson. She was the beloved wife of Richard Barnett, mother of Melissa Kohring and her husband Nigel and their 3 children, and considered as adopted mother of Allen Catherwood and his wife Lacy and their 3 children, and her brother Bill Johnson and his wife Linda, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, and other family members and friends also survive her.

Many of you know that Mrs. Barnett had a passion for taking care of kids, whether they were her children or not. She was a Girl Scout Troup leader and took children on many adventures. Once when their camping trip was rained out, she brought 18 little girls to her home with pillows, blankets, couch cushions, and tents and built an indoor camp out while she washed and dried all their clothes and pillows.

As a band parent she was constantly providing hot chocolate, warm hugs and warm pockets for everyone on those cold Friday nights under the bright lights. She never missed a game. Many of you will remember that Barney colored purple coat that could be spotted a mile away. She was always inviting kids to sleepover often and even live with us as they needed.

She had a large part in raising other family members and was constantly carrying her niece and nephew around. She was a member of First Baptist Church of Canton for 15 years, and then a member of First Christian Church of Jasper for 22 years. When returning to Canton, old church friends would ask how her niece and nephew were doing, referring to them as Melissa’s siblings because of how often she had them in tow. She didn’t even bother to correct them.

She happily fed all the children that visited her home and made sure they had a safe place to be.

And... there is Allen Catherwood, her sort-of-adopted son. Allen was a neighbor and friend. He would walk a 1/4 mile to meet Melissa and friends at the bus stop each morning. The moment Allen was in need, Mrs. Barnett did not hesitate to offer him a place to stay and from there, he just became family.

Mrs. Barnett has a soft spot for the City of Holly Springs, all the elected officials and staff and especially the Holly Springs Police Department. She always made sure that they had what they needed. Each Christmas, she would open her home and invite all the on-duty Holly Springs Police Officers to join her family for a prime rib Christmas lunch. It made her so happy to provide this lunch have these officers, of whom she thought the world.

She was very involved in church and especially the children’s programs. Her most recent work with children is the Sky High Sports program at First Christian Church of Jasper. Mrs. Barnett was not keen on having a lot of flowers at funerals. She thought of it as a waste of money and burden on the family to transport all the flowers after service. Therefore, in lieu of flowers, please donate to Sky High Sports Program. You may contact Venmo @fccofjasper with a note in the comments Sky High for Karen.