DURHAM, N.C. -- Former Duke gridiron captain and All-American Bob Barnett passed away last Wednesday at his home in Rehoboth, Del. He was 90 years of age.
A native of Albany, Ga., Barnett lettered three seasons (1939-40-41) for the Blue Devils as a center under Hall of Fame head coach Wallace Wade. Helping Duke to a three-year ledger of 24-4 with a pair of Southern Conference championships (1939 & 1941), Barnett served as team captain as a senior in 1941 as the Blue Devils went 9-1 and captured the league title before suffering their lone loss of the year, 20-16, against Oregon State in the Rose Bowl held in Durham.
A two-time All-Southern Conference selection, Barnett received third team All-America honors in 1941 when he spearheaded a Duke offense that finished second nationally behind only Texas in scoring (32.7 ppg) and a defense that posted five shutouts and allowed just 6.1 points per game. The 1941 Blue Devils finished the year ranked second nationally in the final Associated Press poll.
Following his undergraduate tenure at Duke, Barnett served in World War II before earning a degree from Duke's Law School in 1947. After retiring as president and chief executive officer of ICI Americas (currently Astra/Zeneca) in 1982, he joined the law firm of Potter Anderson & Corroon in Wilmington, Del.
Barnett was preceded in passing, along with his parents, by his second wife of 29 years, Penelope (Mumford) who died in 2004, and his first wife of 31 years, Elizabeth (Allen) who died in 1974, granddaughter Candice and brothers James and Ewing. He is survived by sons Robert and wife Karen of California, David and wife Robin of Bruceton Mills, W.Va., and Eric of New Castle, Del; granddaughters Kimberley, Kristen, Evelyn; and grandsons Robert, Christopher, David, James and Benjamin; sister Gladys Dowdell and brother-in-law Clark Dowdell of Albany, Ga., and sister-in-law Anne Barnett of Savannah, Ga.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 22, at 11 a.m. at Chandler Funeral Home, 2506 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803, where friends and family may visit beginning at 10 a.m. Interment will be private.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made to Christiana Care Helen F. Graham Cancer Center, Office of Development, PO Box 1668, Wilmington, Del., 19899; or Save Our Lakes Alliance 3, PO Box 1504, Rehoboth Beach, Del., 19971.