Duker & Haugh Funeral Home

Obituaries

Jeff "J.R." Barnhill

Jeff "J.R." Barnhill

Jeff "J.R." Barnhill, of Danvers, IL, died at Blessing Hospital on June 28, 2016.

He was born February 18, 1946 in Unity, IL, to Shirley and Jessie Barnhill. He married Mary Jo Kennel on December 20, 1974 in Metamora. She survives.

J.R. graduated from Roanoke-Benson High School in 1964. He furthered his education by receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Illinois University and a Masters in Education from Illinois State University.

He taught Jr. High Language Arts in the Olympia School District for five years. He worked at State Farm for twenty-five years and retired in 2003.

J.R. served in the Vietnam War from 1969-1970. He was awarded a Purple Heart Medal and a Bronze Star with "V" Device for his heroism in combat.

In addition to his wife, Mary Jo, he is survived by five brothers-in-law, four sisters-in-law, and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, a sister, Mary Jo's parents, a brother-in-law, and a niece.

Memorials may be made to the following: Humane Society of Central Illinois, Illinois Veterans' Home at Quincy or the Alzheimer's Disease Research.

Burial took place on Friday, July 8, 2016 in Sunset Cemetery at the Illinois Veteran's Home with full military honors. A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, July 24, 2016 at the Mackinaw Valley Winery from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Duker & Haugh Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

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Condolences

From:
Mike & Mary Scheirer
METAMORA, IL
Comments:
Mary Jo.....we were so saddened to hear of JR's passing. He was such a sweet and gentle spirit and will be greatly missed. I have such fond memories of him when we were in seventh grade. He is finally at peace now and in the loving arms of our Lord. He always knew that you were there for him when he needed you. God bless! Mike & Mary
From:
Chris Graning
Bloomington, IL
Comments:
Mary Jo, please accept my heartfelt and deepest sympathies for J.R.'s passing. We worked together for many years at State Farm. He will be missed and remembered by all.
From:
Joe and Margaret England
Mackinaw, IL
Comments:
Sending prayers and positive thoughts to you, Barney!
From:
Don Reis
Franklin, NC
Comments:
The kindest and most gentle person I ever met, thank you for friendship JR. Love to you and Mary Jo.
Don Reis
From:
Paul and Margaret Nelson
Bloomington, IL
Comments:
We are so sorry to hear of JR's passing. JR was one of the nicest guys I know, and I feel blessed to have known him. We stopped into see him at the VA Home in Quincy, and he was the same warm, friendly person he always was, even though he was suffering with afflictions. I'll never forget his wonderful smile and his fun-loving spirit. We will be thinking and praying for you and JR.
Love,

Paul and Margaret Nelson
From:
TERRY l MACK
NAPLES, FL
Comments:
Mary Jo, We were so sad to learn of JR's passing. Our sincere condolences to you and all the family. JR was a wonderful person and we were fortunate to have known him.

Terry and Josette Mack
From:
Ted Waterson
St Louis, MO
Comments:
I'm so sorry. I loved playing golf with him. I still use all of his old jokes. You're in my prayers.
From:
Jerry Stump
Bloomington, IL
Comments:
I was on the interview team when J.R. was selected for employment at State Farm Insurance. His military service record was impressive but so were the comments by his coworkers at Olympia HS. Over the years we went separate ways at State Farm but continued to play golf together. He was always a great companion on the golf course no matter what our scores were!
From:
Kathy Murdoch
Normal, IL
Comments:
Dear Mrs. Barnhill,
In 1977, I graduated from Danvers Junior High School where Mr. Barnhill taught language arts.
Mr. Barnhill was a teacher that I remember fondly and who influenced me very much. He had a great sense of humor with a bunch of goofy, hormonal tweeners . He was quick to smile and he had a great smile indeed. I can recall sitting in his classroom off the library on the third floor of the old high school building. That building is long since gone but I still have memories of climbing the wide stairs two and three students abreast and mimicking episodes of Happy Days from the night before, "Ehhhh, sit on it!"
We were so very blessed by several energetic and passionate teachers at Danvers Junior High School in the mid-to-late 1970s, and I am grateful for their enthusiasm and guidance during those very innocent and impressionable days of my life. Your husband believed in me and encouraged me. I grew up in a poor family where no one had ever gone to college before---especially a girl. But because of wonderfully caring and inspiring teachers like Mr. Barnhill and Mrs. Wurmnest, I believed that I could go and get my degree. And I so did. I practiced as a clinical laboratory scientist for over 25 years until I left to raise my son.
When I was a student at ISU, I worked at State Farm corporate in the research department to help pay my tuition and I learned that Mr. Barnhill had left teaching and was now employed there as well. I always wanted to stop by his desk to say hello and to thank him for all he had done to encourage me to strive to reach my dreams, but I never did. I want you to know that your kind husband made a difference in my life and for that I am grateful.
Today, I shared the sad news with several of my friends from my childhood years in Danvers and everyone concurred that Mr. Barnhill was “one of the good ones”.
May wonderful and joyful memories help ease your grief and lift your spirits.
With my deepest condolences and sympathies,
Kathy (Coyle) Murdoch
From:
Dawn Daugherty
Bloomington, IL
Comments:
J.R. and I worked on the same floor at State Farm. I loved when we had the opportunity to talk, he was a wonderful, loving, compassionate man. It's been years since I last saw J.R. but memories of his kindness all came back to me upon seeing his name. Prayers to you and your family.
From:
Nancy (Sauer) Kissinger
Palatine, IL
Comments:
Mary Jo - I just learned of J.R.'s passing and I am SO sad. He was my first manager at State Farm in 1984. He taught me so much in my role in Health Claims. He also encouraged me to move with the company to Southern California in 1985. I admired him so much. He was a such wonderful, funny, and sweet man. It's been years since I last saw J.R. but memories of his kindness all came back to me upon seeing his photo. Prayers to you and your family.