Raymond Clifford Barnett

Raymond Barnett

Raymond Clifford Barnett, age 78, of Lisle, IL, died peacefully at home on October 11, 2021. Beloved husband of Lois Joanne Barnett (nee Gracen) for 55 wonderful years; devoted and fun father of Lisa Ann (Gavin Cross) Barnett and Catherine Colette Barnett; proud grandfather of Fiona Zoe Barnett-Cross; dear brother-in-law of Arthur (Christine) Gracen; loving brother of Colette (Michael) Sulser and preceded in death by siblings Mary (Jerry) Jorgenson, Lowell (Beth Richards) Barnett, and William (Alta) Barnett, and parents Lowell and Colette (nee Dunn) Barnett.

Ray was known for his kindness, intelligence, quick wit, and larger-than-life personality. His daughters inherited his love of learning, his irreverent sense of humor, and his powerful sweet tooth. He was a great “pet dad” to a menagerie of animals throughout his life, most recently of the perfect Boston terrier Toby, and sweet mixed breed “Daddy’s girl” Molly, who stayed by his side when he was not feeling well and who will miss him very much.

Fortunate to have had a career that he loved, Ray spent 37 years as a high school chemistry teacher. While a student at Fenwick High School in Oak Park, IL., chemistry teacher Father Fisher sparked his love for chemistry and showed how great teachers can have a lasting impact on their students’ lives. As a teacher, Ray’s natural enthusiasm spilled over into his classroom, where he made up songs, told jokes, and otherwise connected with his students to make the sometimes complex and dry subject interesting, fun, and relevant to them. He spent his first three years teaching chemistry at Fenwick, and the next 34 years at Evanston Township High School in Evanston, IL. He found great pleasure in helping others learn and truly loved his workdays as much as his weekends. Once retired, Ray enjoyed spending time with friends and family, being outdoors golfing and tending to his gardens, continuing his life-long love of the Chicago Cubs, and watching Jeopardy!, during which he yelled out a majority of the answers correctly, but not in the form of a question. He never wished to be a contestant, however, saying his thumb would be too slow to press the buzzer.

Loyal friend to many, Ray brought a smile wherever he went and will be missed by all who knew him.

Private interment service for immediate family at Windridge Memorial Park and Nature Sanctuary in Cary, IL.

A celebration of Ray’s life will be held at a later date.

Arrangements entrusted to Hitzeman Funeral Home, Ltd., 9445 W. 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513.

Memorials may be made to Brookfield Zoo, 3300 Golf Rd, Brookfield, IL 60513 or The Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL-53, Lisle, IL 60532 or The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 230 E Ohio St, Chicago, IL 60611

For information, call 708-485-2000 or go to www.HitzemanFuneral.com

If you would like to express your condolences here, click the link below. Sympathy cards may be mailed directly to the family, or can be sent to Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 W. 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513, c/o The Raymond Barnett Family. We will gladly forward all correspondence.

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Marianne Rubin condolence:

    I am truly sorry for the loss of your loved one, Ray. I was a Spanish teacher at ETHS for 34 years for the same years he was there. May his memory be a blessing to your family.

    Sincerely,
    Marianne Rubin


  2. Terri Sowa-Imbo condolence:

    Ray was a wonderful human. We shared a classroom at ETHS and he mentored me as a new chemistry teacher as he neared the end of his career. I will always remember his humor, support, and love of pies! May his family be comforted in knowing he inspired many children and adults in the Evanston community and beyond. May love and light continue to guide his family.- Terri


  3. Russell Kohnken condolence:

    I only overlapped with Ray as an ETHS teacher for a few years, and have golfed with him on occasion. I remember him as a friendly colleague who was always willing to speak his mind. I will miss him, and my prayers are with you.


  4. Pamela Baumgartner condolence:

    In many ways Ray mentored me, especially on matters related to the Teachers’Union. We served together on the Grievance committee protecting the rights of our teachers. He was so kind and patient. A smile that would light a room greeted all his students even on a bad day. Through the years I have thought of him so fondly. My condolences to his family and close ones.


  5. John Benson condolence:

    I taught Mathematics at ETHS during most of Ray’s career. He befriended me on my first day and was always helpful, cheerful and inspirational. His students loved Chemnistry because he made is challenging and interesting. He was a truly great teacher.


  6. Michael Carpenter condolence:

    I am truly sorry for your loss, and it is with heavy heart that I search for words that will measure up to the man that Ray was. I was a freshman at ETHS in 1968 when Ray started teaching there. I started teaching at ETHS in 1986 and was able to share 16 wonderful years learning from one of the best educators on this planet. The “lunch bunch” was first hosted by Bob Alexander, then Harold Weeks, and then Ray Barnett. It was at the “lunch bunch” that the young kids were “shown the ropes” by the elders.


  7. Michael Carpenter condolence:

    To Finish:
    To sum up my experience with Ray as a colleague, he was the best every day teaching experience mentor that a young teacher could have. Whenever I encountered a teaching experience that required considerable thought, I would say to myself, how would Ray handle this.


  8. Craig Smith condolence:

    I am so sorry for your loss and the pain you must feel. I new Ray as an amazing teacher and colleague. Beginning in 1986 I joined ETHS as a biology teacher, was inaugurated into the “lunch bunch” along with Mike C. and had the great fortune and pleasure to teach the next 16 years in a classroom adjacent to Ray’s. Ray was my mentor and my friend. His quips, jokes and quick wit lit up many a day for me and all those who knew him. It always seemed to me that somehow Ray knew what was really important, whether in the classroom or in everyday life. Thank you for the memories Ray!


  9. Fred Ludwig condolence:

    I grieve for the grievance chairman. I was lucky to be a beneficiary of Ray’s wonderful sense of humor on the golf course as well as at ETHS. We had fun reminiscing about teachers we had at Fenwick H.S. and how they affected our careers. He offered good advice about students we had in common, and shared his expertise, helping me navigate the Teachers’ Retirement system. I love Ray.


  10. Mary Emerson condolence:

    Lois, my deepest sympathy to you and all of Ray’s family. There was such a sense of loss at the news of his passing. Though I seldom saw him since our retirements from the high school, we spent so many years working closely together on union activities. The negotiations committees he chaired many times and the tireless effort he putin on grievances helped and enriched the lives of all of his colleagues. But mainly I remember his devotion to you and the girls and how he made every day a fun but thoughtful experience.


  11. Larry Olson condolence:

    Ray was a colleague and friend for 25 years at ETHS. Although in different departments, his mastery of teaching was obvious to all. Job well done my friend.


  12. John Willson condolence:

    I taught 34 years at ETHS and I will always remember Ray’s ever present friendly smile and welcoming personality. My prayers are with the family.


  13. Margaret Johnson condolence:

    I am so sorry to hear about Ray’s passing. I know he was a wonderful husband and father. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this difficult time.


  14. Al and Pat Brinton condolence:

    With deepest sympathy. May you take comfort in loving memory and the friends and family that surround you.
    God Bless.


  15. Elaine Davison condolence:

    My deepest sympathy to you and your family. He was a wonderful, loving husband
    for so many years. May your memories give you comfort.


  16. Gail carlson condolence:

    Lois and family, I am so very sorry for your loss of your husband and father. I only met ray a few times at Brookfield zoo events with you Lois and I always thought of ray as a fine gentle man. I hope you find solace in the celebration of ray’s quite remarkable life.


  17. Charlie Davis condolence:

    Please accept my deepest condolences on Ray’s passing. As a former student (1972), I was so lucky that my schedule drew Ray. He was thoughtful, kind and a brilliant motivator. As hard as chemistry was for me to learn, Ray was always with me, alongside with his gentle wisdom, fun sense of humor and encouragement. He was one of handful of teachers who inspired me to become a teacher, myself. When I joined the faculty at ETHS, I told Ray my goal was to measure up to the standard he set as my teacher. Throughout my career, I always saw Ray’s impact on me as my chemistry teacher as my own measuring stick – I will be forever grateful for the luck of the draw in 1972 and the years teaching as a fellow faculty member at ETHS.

    at ETHS.


  18. Eileen & Jim Knockemus condolence:

    Dear Lois, we have so missed seeing and chatting with Ray and Molly. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers. Monty is missing his girlfriend, Molly. We are here for you.
    Love, Eileen, Jim and Monty


  19. William P Siavelis condolence:

    Dear Lois and family, I got to know Ray more closely when working with our union. He brought a sense of fairness, insight and good humor that made a difficult task a pleasure.


  20. John Buchanan condolence:

    I am deeply saddened by the passing of Ray. He was a good friend and golfing buddy (he organized the golf). But his personality was particularly important to me in the ETHS Science Department.
    He was one of the small group of teachers who welcomed me to the ETHS community in 1984. As it turned out I probably taught more years with Ray in general chemistry than any other teacher in any other class and he was a wonderful teacher, working with challenging students. But that was his choice.
    But Ray played one role of which many of his colleagues may not be aware but as a department chair I was aware. Occasionally, one of our colleagues would get into trouble. As a representative of the union, Ray would work with the teacher to be sure he/she was treated fairly, and help work out a suitable solution to the problem which might include a departure of the teacher from ETHS. But Ray never told you more than you needed to know. He was very professional.
    Socially, we became good friends after retirement. I miss him dearly.


  21. Don Golas condolence:

    Ray was our golf partner for years, which included John B., George D, Fred L., and John L.
    I’ll miss him greatly for his wit and sense of Humor. His jokes were many ,and always when I was ready to drive the ball. I would crack up over many of them, which were pretty good, and others…. Pretty bad.
    The thing is , he made us all laugh. He was lots of fun on and off the course. I liked that he coined us the “Dubbers” because we were…. guys having fun trying to hit the ball.
    If it wasn’t for ETHS I wouldn’t have the privilege to know such an incredible teacher and scholar!!
    He was genuine, kind and always there if you needed him.
    I’ll miss him tremendously!
    Goodbye my friend.


  22. Don Golas condolence:

    Ray was our golf partner for years, which included John B., George D, Fred L., and John L.
    I’ll miss him greatly for his wit and sense of Humor. His jokes were many ,and always when I was ready to drive the ball. I would crack up over many of them, which were pretty good, and others…. Pretty bad.
    The thing is , he made us all laugh. He was lots of fun on and off the course. I liked that he coined us the “Dubbers” because we were…. guys having fun trying to hit the ball.
    If it wasn’t for ETHS I wouldn’t have the privilege to know such an incredible teacher and scholar!!
    He was genuine, kind and always there if you needed him.
    I’ll miss him tremendously!
    Goodbye my friend.
    Don


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