Sgt. John A. Barney Barnhart (Ret.), 60, of Allentown, passed away on Monday, June 24, 2013, at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, suffering from complications due to injuries sustained while in the line of duty. He was the husband of Susan M. (Wilkins) Barnhart with whom he celebrated 37 years of marriage. Born in West Pittston, PA on January 18, 1953, he was the son of the late Malcolm E. and Clare P. (Rader) Barnhart. He was a member of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, Allentown and was a 4th Degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus Assembly 931. John attended Admiral Farragut Academy, NJ, and graduated from Whitehall H.S. in 1970. After graduating high school, he started as a Santa at the Whitehall Mall, continuing his role as Santa for F.O.P. Lodge 10, The Spina Bifida Assoc. of the Lehigh Valley, Turning Point Bethlehem, Allentown Federal Credit Union, City of Allentown Employee Christmas Caroling Program, Wiley House, and the Good Shepherd Day Care. John began his career as a police cadet in 1973, joining the Allentown Police Department in 1974. He received numerous commendations, including one for heroism when he entered the Lehigh River to save the lives of three men. In 1985, he coordinated the F.O.P. Food Basket Program as well as fundraisers for The Spina Bifida Association of the Lehigh Valley. He was a loaned executive for United Way, financial secretary for F.O.P.Lodge 10, and a delegate on the F.O.P. State Board. He also served for Big Brothers & Big Sisters and the Visiting Nurses Association, and was a 32nd Degree F. & A.M. at the Jordan-Martin Lodge #673. In 1988, John received the Allentown City Council Spirit Award. John was also an instructor at the Allentown Police Academy, certified scuba diver for the A.P.D., a competitive shooter on the police pistol team, hostage negotiator, master of ceremonies for many police functions, certified defensive driving instructor throughout the state of PA, and also a wonderful Rodney Dangerfield impersonator. John retired as a sergeant in 1996 after being injured in a Dream Come True charity race in 1991 when he was struck from behind by a go-cart operated by the former Mayor of Bethlehem, Ken Smith. His injuries ultimately caused him to have numerous surgeries which left him paralyzed below the waist. Although the last 10 years of his life he was confined to a hospital bed at home, he still enjoyed the love and company of his family and friends. And he especially enjoyed the time he spent with his grandson. John was a voracious reader, especially of history and WWII. He loved music and was a trivia buff. He also was an artist, drawing cartoons and caricatures for the F.O.P. newsletter, The Blue Line. Survivors: Wife; children, Sarah R. Bologna and her husband, Michael, Jonathan E. Barnhart; sister, Loretta Golden and her husband, Robert, of Omaha, NE; grandson, Nathan John, who was the joy of his life; nieces and nephews; faithful companions, Orion and Hooper. John was predeceased by his sister, Patricia A. Barnhart. Contributions: Don Bosco Maridi Project - Salesian Lay Missioners, ATTN: Adam Rudin, 2 LeFevre Lane, P.O. Box 30, New Rochelle, NY 10802 or salesianlaymissioners.org.
Published in Morning Call on June 27, 2013