To know him was to love him. William Bill Barnett (aka Bill Bill) died on Sunday, February 25th, after a brief illness, surrounded by the big, boisterous, loving family that he and his wife Noel Barnett created. He died exactly one year to the day that he lost the love of his life, Noey.
Bill was known as a loyal Gator, with season tickets on the 50 yard line and a car horn that played the UF fight song in the 1980s. He always loved the University of Florida where he earned a B.A. in English and a J.D. He never forgot how to recite the preface to the Canterbury Tales and loved quoting Andrew Marvell’s carpe diem love poem: “though we cannot make our sun stand still, yet we will make him run.”
He grew up in Hallandale, Florida and and went to South Broward High School. He was State Master Councilor of the DeMolay for the State of Florida and a Mason. Bill was a charismatic trial attorney, a rational legal mind and an empathetic guide to clients in his criminal defense and family law practice. He was a “LITIGATOR” who was a member of the Florida Bar for 50 years, leading the firm Barnett & Barclay and then joining Weiss, Grunor, Barclay & Barnett before his retirement in 2017. The family called him “the walking encyclopedia” and he was the “go to” man for advice on everything from marriage and child-rearing to the best historic and romantic Tuscan towns to visit.
Bill and Noel lived their life to the fullest, travelling to places like South Africa, Thailand and Ireland. His five surviving children- Pamela Barnett of Philadelphia, Jennifer Seminara of Casselberry, Rebecca Barnett of Atlanta, Molly Barnett of Orlando and Brad Barnett of Orlando-- cherish memories of “Donuts in the Dark” (a 3am run to Mister Donut on 17-92), train rides to the Sanford Zoo, reggae concerts with Pato Banton, countless Florida Gator games, and family dinners at a table seating over 20 at a time, with family members and often dear friends who became family. His sons in law and daughter in law -- Jeff Hornstein, Joseph Seminara and Ashley Barnett--always felt they lucked out in joining his family. He was a big man who lived large and loved large. He adored his many grandchildren and he and Noel made Christmas magical every year for: Jimmy, Paulina and Angie Seminara, Ruby and Elliott Albert and Max and Daphne Barnett. He is also survived by his sisters and their husbands, Janie and Ray Caragher and Gale and Harry Kappes in Plantation, FL.
Bill and Noel were united by their deep faith and were active members of Grace Church. They gave generously to a variety of charitable organizations, always grateful for their blessings.
“To another perfect day!”
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. The funeral will be held on Saturday, March 10th at 10am at Grace Church Orlando, 2300 Pembrook Drive, Orlando, FL 32810., with Pastor Mike Adkins, officiating.