John Barnhart, age 79, passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Sunday, August 28th, 2022. He was born on May 4th, 1943, in La Junta, Colorado, to the late Frank (Barney) and Betty Barnhart.
While growing up in Paso Robles, he attended several schools, including Paso Robles High School. During his high school years, he was a four-year varsity letterman in football and baseball. In 1959 he was selected to the “Helms Athletic Foundation” All-Southern California High School Football team as a first-team center while his team enjoyed an undefeated season. In 1960 he was awarded the Scholar-Athlete award by the National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame. He graduated in 1961 from Paso Robles High School.
John graduated from Taft Jr. College with an AA degree in June 1963 and then went on to Cal State Northridge on a football scholarship.
In 1967 he was drafted by President Johnson and served two years in the army. He was sent to Germany and assigned to the 3rd infantry division. There he was asked to play football for his division. He was reassigned to the Finance Dept.
After the army, he enrolled at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and graduated in 1970 with a BS Degree in Business Administration and went to work for Arthur Andersen in the Los Angeles office. In June of 1976, he started the commercial audit division for Oppenheim, Appel & Dixon in the Century City office. At the end of 1976, he was offered the position of Vice President of Finance for Plus Products in Irvine, CA. In 1979 he joined with two former Arthur Andersen employees to form the CPA firm of Halcrow, Rose and Barnhart, in Beverly Hills and North Hollywood, CA. He then became the Director of Internal Audits for Shappel Industries, California’s largest custom homebuilder and landowner in Beverly Hills.
In July 1981, he joined the CPA firm Nelson and Nelson in Fresno, CA, and opened the Merced office. He then decided to start his own firm in 1984, which he ran until November 2002. After that, he took a temporary job as an accountant for Groveland Community District. He soon became the Finance Director. In April 2007, he was hired by Tuolumne Utilities District as Finance Director and retired in Sept 2012.
John was involved in the Merced community for many years. He was on the Project Area committee for four years. He served as a board member and Chief Financial officer of the Downtown Association for 20 years. He was a founding member of the Merced CASA organization for five years and a founding board member and Chief Financial officer of the Challenger Learning Center Foundation. He was a member of Kiwanis Club for five years before joining the Merced Sunrise Rotary as a charter member and treasurer in 1985. He loved the Friday Morning meetings with all the members.
He is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Margie Barnhart, son Greg (Lori) Barnhart of Eastvale, CA, and daughter Christy (Ben) Griffith of Riverbank, CA; his sister Penelope Plaza of Moreno Valley, CA; sister Pamala Bablonka of Paso Robles, CA, his grandchildren Robert, Tyler, Jackson, Jade, and Bailey. He is also survived by his nephews and nieces, Phillip, Sharon, Kevin, Katrina, and Melissa.
On October 14th at 10:30 am, there will be a brief ceremony at the San Joaquin National Cemetery in Santa Nella for family and close friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Community Hospice at 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95356, or the Merced Sunrise Rotary P.O. Box 3262, Merced, CA 95344.