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Longtime legislator Barnett dies at 86

BROOKHAVEN — Dr. Jim Barnett, a country doctor and longtime state legislator, has died at the age of 86.

Officials with Riverwood Family Funeral Service say Barnett died Friday at St. Dominic Hospital in Jackson. Services are 10 a.m. today at First United Methodist Church of Brookhaven. Burial will be at Riverwood Memorial Park.

A veteran of the Korean War, Barnett practice medicine in Brookhaven for 36 years. He served in the Mississippi House from 1992 to 2008.

In an interview with the Daily Leader in 2012, Barnett said he had always been interested in politics.

“I enjoyed the Legislature, and I did everything I could for Brookhaven,” he said.

Barnett worked diligently to bring the Mississippi School of the Arts to Brookhaven and the campus of old Whitworth College.

Bill Jacobs, former Daily Leader publisher, said Barnett was part of the MSA initiative from the beginning.

“He worked so hard on that thing,” Jacobs said. “He worked so hard to get it where it is. It was his baby.”

Barnett, a native of Edinburg, Millsaps College, Tulane University and the University of Mississippi School of Medicine. He received his Medical Degree from the Southwestern Medical College of the University of Texas in 1949.

A veteran of the Korean War, Barnett practice medicine in Lincoln County for 36 years.

Barnett, a commercial-rated pilot, served 12 years as chairman of Mississippi Aeronautics Commission. He served 13 years on State Board of Mental Health and was chairman twice. The Board of Mental Health honored Barnett by naming a new mental health facility “The Jim C. Barnett, M.D. Homes” in Brookhaven.

Survivors include his wife, Roberta; nine children, 26 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.

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