John Barnet Jr.

January 27, 1938 ~ September 16, 2023 (age 85) 85 Years Old


John William Barnet Jr was born in Chicago to parents John and Marianne Barnet. The family left when he was a baby and lived briefly in Ohio before moving to the Georgetown area of Washington DC where he would start elementary school and continue through 3 years at Georgetown University. When his family moved to Seattle, he finished his degree at the University of Washington.

During his junior high years, he experienced something that would affect the rest of his life. He accidentally walked by a rehearing symphony orchestra and peaked in. Before he left he said, “That’s what I want to do.” He started percussion lessons and played all throughout his school years. A great memory he treasured was to have marched with the U of W band at the 1960 Rose Bowl which Washington won – “Go Huskies”. He mentioned it so often over the years that his wife Jeannette decided the 50-year history of this pivotal event should be celebrated. So in 2010 they went to Pasadena and volunteered to help build a float for the Rose Bowl Parade and wound up gluing tiny, tiny poppy seeds to the head of a hippo. Another great Rose Bowl memory!

After college John started his career in Seattle with IBM in the computer division. He would later be transferred to Boise to become the IBM representative for Boise Cascade. Over time he became a full-time employee of Boise Cascade where he retired as a Corporate Information Technology Manager.

John was always drawn to music. He joined the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra in which he played for 45 delightful years. He would also spend evening after evening at the Idanha Hotel to listen to Gene Harris play jazz piano. The times he loved most were when he was the only one in the lounge and Gene would play just to him.

How can I be most beneficial and provide the best support? That was his life-long question. Sometimes it would be in the lead as when be became the congregational president of the Ahavath Best Israel synagogue, served on the Boise Philharmonic board in several capacities, or becoming a founding member of the Boise Jazz Society. But most of the time, he was working quietly behind the scenes trying to be helpful wherever he saw he might be able to make a difference.

No doubt John’s biggest source of pride is his family. He had a son Dave (with wife Anne), a daughter Kate and son Mat (with wife Karen). Fast forward. Now Dave and wife Julie have a daughter and two sons, Cordelia, Bram and Ian and live in New Hampshire. Kate and husband Jack live in Seattle. Mat and wife Malisa have two sons, Felix and Caspian and live in Virginia. He is so proud of all of them not only for what they do but the remarkable, caring people they have become.

John also shared the last 33 years of his unconditional love with his wife Jeannette. They both enjoyed performing together in the Boise Philharmonic Orchestra for many years. In addition to enjoying all the arts, they also embraced travelling. Even after vacationing on all the continents except Antarctica (too intense) they were always excited about the next adventure. The next one would have been Iceland.

On the day he died, John had enjoyed a fabulous day. He started by sharing breakfast with a group of friends that have been meeting each weekend for several decades. He then went to the synagogue where he had the joy of playing his cajon drum with the other musicians. The sun was shining. The breeze was gentle. A fulfilling and deserving way to complete the life of a remarkable, precious man.

The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Boise Philharmonic, the Boise Jazz Society, Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, or the charity of your choice.


September 21, 2023

2:00 PM
Relyea Funeral Chapel
318 North Latah St
Boise, ID 83706

Video is available for this event


Morris Hill Cemetery
317 N Latah St
Boise, ID 83706


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