Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tom Barnett: Rest In Peace

Tom Barnett, July 2014. Photo by & Copyright Harry Varnas 2014.

Dateline: Thursday, October 16, 2014
Re:  Tom Barnett: Rest In Peace
Date: October 16, 2014 7:33:00 AM PDT

Subject: A message from Steve Barnett

To the Ocean Lifeguards of LA County and the State of California,

My brother, your brother, Tom Barnett, slipped away from this life Wednesday afternoon.  His mother, Bea, and I were with him.  His wife, Ellen, had just left him to take care of their sons.  His friends Kip and Kevin were just outside.  The hour is too late and my grief is too strong to write here and now everything you deserve to hear.  Please know, however, that the astonishing support that poured forth from your ranks will be something Ellen, Bea, and I will always remember and cherish.  From the numerous visitors in the hospital and hospice, to the spontaneous crowd for the Bronze Savage, to the line of people signing up to give Tom care, you have all displayed a depth of respect and camaraderie I never imagined possible. Tom's sons, Philip and Nolan, still marvel at the outpouring of love and regard for their father.  It will buoy them in the days and years to come, but most of all, it was something that truly amazed and touched Tom himself.  He was moved to his core, and I know it eased his passage.

Thank you all so much for being a part of his life right until the end.

Sincerely and with much gratitude,

Steve Barnett


Photo by & Copyright Harry Varnas 2014.
From the 2005 LACo Lifeguard Rookie Swim Test, three more photos by Harry Varnas of Tom holding his young son in his arms.

( Photo source: The three (3) color photos immediately above are photos by & Copyright Harry Varnas 2005.  Used here with permission.)

Thanks very much to Harry for sharing these photos of Tom with all of us.


•  Tom Barnett: Pray It Forward

•  Tom Barnett's Bronze Savage Ceremony


We have lost a brother, a friend, and a colleague.  Tom's spirit lives on, however, and the outpouring of love and support shown by our LACo Lifeguard Family for Tom and his family is a strength that we can all call upon as we grieve his loss and carry on in our lives.

Tom Barnett at Regionals, Summer 2010, sprinting up the beach ahead of Eldin Onsgard.  Photo by & Copyright Will Maguire 2010. 

We can honor Tom's memory by continuing to strive for excellence and emulate his passion and enthusiasm for ocean lifesaving, whether we are on or off duty.  God Bless, Tom Barnett. Rest in peace, brother.

Respectfully submitted,

Will Maguire, Editor
"County Recurrent" News

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1 comment:

EllenBarnett said...

Will - Thanks so much for such a wonderful tribute. Your love and respect for Tom and you taking the time to share these photos and memories with the whole community means so much to our entire family. Seeing these pictures and reading these messages helps to give Philip and Nolan the strength that will buoy them forward in their young lives. We miss him so much already. - Ellen Barnett