John L. Barnett

John Barnett pic 2

John Lewis Barnett was born March 17, 1935, in Lancaster, South Carolina to Florence Thornwell (mother). John was one of 3 children. He and his siblings, Ray J. Thornwell Sr. (deceased) and Susie M. Ford, moved to Ohio when he was a toddler.

In the 50’s, John met Ernestine Ellison. They got married on June 14, 1958. This union brought 3 children: Dwayne S. Barnett, Johnna “Boo” R. Barnett, and Thurron E. Barnett. John also raised several other family members as his own.

In his 87 years of life, John was a construction supervisor until he was hurt in a major accident, which caused permanent damage to his right leg. He later became the Manager of Rollerland Skating Rink. This is when he became the “Legendary John Barnett of Rollerland.” Parents would send their kids to the rink because of him. They trusted he would look after them and keep them safe. During the time John worked at Rollerland, everyone was going there to get their “pearl-on!” This lasted for many years until they closed. John went on to become the manager of Skate-Key, which was also highly successful under his management. After Skate-Key closed, John retired and became an avid fisherman.

He would go to breakfast with Mr. Austin (deceased), his cousin, brother, and friend at least once a month. As his health started to deteriorate, he still kept everyone laughing. He made sure his family was taken care of, especially his beloved wife Ernestine. John enjoyed life to the fullest and is now resting. He will be remembered for his work in and for the community and the love he had for his family.

John is preceded in death by his mother; Frances Thornwell, brother; Ray James Thornwell, sister-in-law; Betty Jean (Jessie) Hairston, cousins; Ulysses and Peggy Austin, and special Son, Shawn Williams.

John leaves to cherish his wife; Ernestine Barnett, children; Dwayne (Mary G) S. Barnett, Johnna R. Barnett, Thurron E. Barnett, LaVonda McLean, and Sanford McDonald, grandchildren; Children, Natasha R. Stith and Brandon Young, great grandchildren, Bre’Onna Scott, Layana Hammonds, Ladarius Edwards, Elijah Kelly, Braydyn Young, Kristian Young, and Riley Young, sister; Susie M. Ford and a host of nieces, nephews and cousins.

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Visitation 9:00 AM and Funeral Service 10:00 AM Saturday, January 28, 2023 at MARLAN J. GARY FUNERAL HOME, THE CHAPEL OF PEACE EAST, 5456 E. Livingston Ave. (one block east of Noe Bixby, turn North on Lonsdale Rd.). Interment at Eastlawn Cemetery. To read the complete obituary, order flowers, view video tribute and offer condolences to the Barnett Family, visit

Condolence Messages

  1. Bishop & Mrs Jerome H Ross

    Prayers and deepest condolences to the Barnett family. Praying for comfort and strength in your loss.

  2. Sanford McDonald

    Pastor Sanford McDonald and the McDonald family from earth to glory take your rest we will be praying for the family we love y’all ❤️

  3. To the Entire family I do remember the days of pearling and fun he was legacy and a positive tomorrow for A era of love and peace. May you know the standards of love will remain.

  4. The Barnett Family,
    May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate
    a life well lived.

  5. Sending prayers to the family. My condolences

  6. Veronica Thornton

    My Condolences to the Thurron and family Mr John was a awesome person the only person my father trust to leave me at RollerLand with He would always make you laugh RIP
    Love you Thurron Praying for you and family


  8. To John’s family,
    I was saddened to hear about John’s passing and continue to pray for your family.

    It was a privilege having John in our lives during our childhood years at Rollerland skating ring. John was instrumental to our black community and was loved by all. I’m so happy I attended his birthday celebration a few years ago, we had a ball, it was great hanging out with the old gang. Rest In Peace my friend, job well done.

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