Elmer O. Barney Jr.
February 17, 1937 – June 4, 2021
Tech/Sgt. (Ret.) Elmer O. Barney Jr., “E.J.” was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, on February 17, 1937, to parents Elmer O. Barney and Evelyn (Wilfore) Barney. Most of his young life was spent in North Danville, and he graduated from Danville High School in 1954.
He and his best friend, Jimmy Daniels, joined the Air Force together in 1955, where E.J. spent four years in England and came home with his first wife, Ann Britch. He opted to stay in the Air Force and spent several years at various U.S. bases.
A few years after his divorce, he met Christine Bettner in Rapid City, South Dakota, and married her and became a dad to her children, Kim and Kevin Bettner. Rapid City was the beginning of his radio career, at the end of 20 years in the Air Force. In his employment with Hewlett Packard, he took his family to Saudi Arabia for a couple of years.
After Christine's early death at 45, E.J. continued to live in the Petaluma area of California and established a radio program called “The Good News Guys at Fort Bragg.” As a lifelong optimist and with an interest in the stories people have to tell, he interviewed many famous people and others with interesting lives. Some of his favorite interviews were with Doris Day, Judy Collins, Shelley Berman, Bob Cousy, Johnny Pesky, Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr. He was a lifelong Red Sox fan, even attending Red Sox Fantasy Camp and authoring a book called “Love Those Red Sox.”
His book turned out to chronicle the love story of he and Joanne Deaton, PhD, his third wife. They were married in 1988, and he gained three step-daughters and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Joanne's daughters are Marlene Hatch, Lori Graham and Roberta Ashman. Grandchildren are Evan, Samantha, Heather, Jasper, Jeremy, Joshua, Jenna, Jacob and Jaci and great-grandchildren are Sybil, Arden, Xavier, Lincoln and Elijah. Joanne passed away in 2010 while they were in Vermont.
His next adventure was to find the girl he fell in love with in Hawaii in 1969, Naomi Scott. He and Naomi rekindled their romance and have been married since June of 2017. They enjoyed several happy years together in Fort Worth and Boerne, Texas. E.J. is also survived by his brother, Robert Barney (Anne) of Bradford, Massachusetts; his sister, Mary Hatch (Jan) of Gardner, Massachusetts; and several nieces and nephews. Also surviving him are close friends Alex Randall, Jim Shaw, Bill Coffman and Jim Wagner and his “adopted” family in Ghana, Mawuli Jiaggre, who has tried for years to come to the U.S. to visit but was not successful.
Special thanks to E.J.'s caregiver, retired Army Medic George Rice.
Services will be held at Ft. Bragg, California, and Mendocino, California at a later date. Please feel free to visit his Facebook page and leave a message.