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Ronald W. Barnhart, 91, of Leonore passed away on the morning of Jan. 30, 2013, with family by his side.
Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in Elias Funeral Home, Streator. Burial will be at Fairview Cemetery, Tonica. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Sunday in Elias Funeral Home, Streator. The Elks ritual will be given at 4 p.m.
Ronald “Barney” was born Oct. 31, 1921, in Streator to Lemuel and Francis (Craft) Barnhart.
He graduated from Streator High School in 1939 and began working with “Woody” Woodrich at his Standard Oil gas station in Streator. This began his career with Standard Oil. He enlisted in the Army Air Force in 1942 and flew over Europe with the 453rd Bomb Squad 8th Army Air Corps. He was stationed at “Old Buckingham” RAF base in England. He flew 25 missions and was honorably discharged in 1945.
He married Monica Manley in June 1943 and moved to Leonore in 1947 where they built their home and raised their children, Jon (deceased) (Karla) and Barbara Miller (Ronald). There are three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He built his bulk plant in Leonore and was a Standard Oil agent for 40 years until his retirement. Ronald and Monica were married nearly 69 years when Monica passed away on May 28, 2012.
Ronald was a wise and honorable man who lived each day with integrity. He was kind to all and everyone knew they could go to him with a question or concern. He was always ready to listen and help, giving generously of his time.
He was instrumental in establishing Leonore Volunteer Fire Department in 1956 and served as fire chief until 1982.
He was elected mayor of Leonore in 1985 and served until retiring in 2005. He was a 66-year member of Streator Elks Club and a tireless volunteer. He was a trustee for 18 years, bowled in the Elks league for 50 years and was a charter member of the Elks bingo crew. He was the district representative for the Elks veterans committee. He and his wife volunteered for many years at the Illinois Veterans Home at La Salle.
Most of all he lived his life with great loyalty to his family and community. He was a strong and beloved part of his family.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Leonore Volunteer Fire Department or the La Salle veterans home.
Pallbearers will be Ronald Miller, Joseph Schmit, Andrew Scroggins, Daniel Wiesbrock, John Schubert and Marion Johnson.