Winifred Anne Barnett

Winifred Anne “Wini” Barnett passed away peacefully in her sleep on Nov. 11, 2021. She was 95 years old. 

Funeral service will be Thursday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. at the Whitlash Community Church in Whitlash, Mont.

Wini was born Sept. 10, 1926, to Ted and Donna Allen. She was born in the family home at Whitlash, built by her grandfather Lester Stott, called Ranchers Cash Store. There she grew up with siblings Evelyn, Golda and brother Lester Edwin Allen (later called Ed). The store was also the post office. Her grandmother Louisa-Allen- Anderson served as postmaster for over 50 years and was the longest serving postmaster in the United States.

Wini attended a one-room schoolhouse in Whitlash. School sessions were sometimes all summer long and vacation came when it was snowing too deep to get around. This continued until they sent her to boarding school in Thompson Falls, Mont. She returned home for high school and went to Shelby High School till she graduated. 

Life was exciting for Wini on the plains of Northern Montana in the midst of the Sweetgrass Hills. You were only a stone’s throw from the Canadian border. People went across and back pretty much as they felt like it. They had dances at the local hall, sledding and skating parties and card parties all helped the winter to pass as radio was rare and TV wasn’t even invented. She attended the Presbyterian Church, that her grandfather helped build. 

Richard Barnett began courting Wini while he was working for his uncle Bill Schaefer, a rancher near Whitlash. The girls would work for locals when school wasn’t in session, to make money for themselves. It was the 30s and times were tough. 

World War II came, and Rich enlisted in the Army, so their courtship was put off till the end of the War. In 1945, he returned home and in 1947 they became officially engaged. Rich and Wini were to marry soon after. The happy couple left for Helena and started a truck garden that flourished till they retired to Arizona. 

Wini has been a lifelong artist and her talent really took off after the move. Rich died of a heart attack in the spring of 2001. Wini and Rich didn’t have children, but their nieces and nephews were like children to them, and she loved them very much. 

Wini by this time, was an accomplished artist and taught classes while selling many paintings. For the last 10 years, she has been living in the Heritage center of Shelby, Mont. They have taken excellent care of her. She has enjoyed many outings and activities. Her sister Evelyn Aiken joined her at the Heritage until her death in 2019. 

Survivors include her nieces Charlo Reynolds, Denise Anderson, Bonnie Shaw, Cindy LaSorte, Toni Wehr; nephews Donnie and Rob Lass and many cousins abound. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Rich Barnett; sisters, Evelyn Aiken, Golda Lass; brother Ed Allen; and her father and mother, Ted Allen and Donna Allen.