Roland Charles Barnett, born in Ithaca, NY, April 18, 1942, passed away peacefully after a brief illness, with family members by his side, on March 29, 2022 in Jacksonville, FL.
Rollie, as he was known to his friends and family, was a beloved husband to Roberta (Morrow) Barnett, as well as father, grandfather and great-grandfather to a family that made him incredibly proud. Rollie made life-long friends wherever he went, including his service in the United States Navy, where he achieved the rank of E4 as a Seabee in the early 1960’s. He was a past Master King Hiram Lodge #784, Newfield NY, and a member of Balbec Grotto, a lifetime member of VFW Post #961, a member of American Legion #221.
Rollie was known in Ithaca for three decades as a master auto mechanic at Barnett’s Blue Sunoco Service Station on State St., a business started by his father, Ted. He was known for his kind-hearted and generous ways at the Service Station as he would go the extra mile to help anyone in need, even those without the funds to pay at the time. After that, he became a consistently high-performing salesman for Royal Motors, Zikakis Imports and Chevrolet and Cutting Motors. Rollie’s word was trusted by his customers and business partners and his loyal clients who followed him to each dealership were incredibly appreciative of his straight-forward approach and honesty, always delivered with a firm handshake.
To know Rollie was to know he loved vintage cars. He could easily recite the model and make of every car he and his friends had driven and tell you the details of each one. He loved NASCAR, watching baseball and football, and for many years of his life, a cold Pabst Blue Ribbon. If you were driving the roads of Danby after work or on Sundays, there was a good chance you would cross paths with Rollie on one of his ritual rides through the hills around his home in his 1985 Chevy pick-up truck, red with dual exhausts.
Friends were always impressed by Rollie’s incredible memory and his ability to tell stories that brought laughter and perspective. He stayed in touch with his many friends from the military and his career, as well as business associates and brotherhoods, until his final weeks of life.
Rollie is survived by wife Roberta, (“Bertie”), children Nora Jordan, Brian (Katie) and Loren (Nichole); Kim Smith (Mitch Arthur), Tammy (Bob) Hart and grandchildren Casey, Megan and Elijah; Bryce and Evan; Weston, Mckenna and Breana; Catherine (Thomas) Hancock, Samantha (Darren) Jenkins and Taelor Hart (Jeremy) as well as three great grandchildren, Easton Barnett, Azrael Hart and Maverick Jenkins, as well as sister-in-law Carol Barnett; and several nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends. He was predeceased by his parents, Ted and Ermie, and his brother, Donald (Carol). A celebration of life will be held in Ithaca this summer. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to VFW Post 961 or American Legion Post 221 in Rollie’s name.