Hugh Barnett of Rock Hill celebrated his 105th birthday Sunday morning at Grace Lutheran Church.
“He’s different, and interesting, and amazing,” Eric Schmidt, a friend and fellow cast member of the all-senior lip sync performing group The Carolina Copycats, said about Barnett.
“He loves to engage with people. He’s very, very active. His appointment book is full all week long, and he never stops. He’s just a nice guy to be around.”
Barnett lives at Westminster Towers where he “participates in just about every activity they have” including dance, drama and exercise groups, according to his daughter, Ann Mohrmann.
“He just lately started to use a walker,” Schmidt added. “Ann got him a red one because when he was younger he always used to wear red socks. That was okay with him, and off he’s been running ever since.”
A U.S. Army veteran who specialized in radar, Barnett volunteers helping prepare meals for the Feed the Hungry ministry at Grace Lutheran and as an evening host with Family Promise, a ministry to help support local homeless families.
While working as an electronics engineer on ship-borne radar for Western Electric in Portsmouth, Va., Barnett noticed a Navy nurse named Juliet Ekdahl in the cafeteria. The two would eventually marry in 1953 and were together until she passed away in 2007 at age 89 after battling Alzheimer’s.
“I remember him walking me down the aisle when I got married, and I remember the amazing care he took of my mom the last several years when she had Alzheimer’s,” Mohrmann said.
“He’s a great man celebrating a milestone birthday, but he’s my Daddy. That’s what I’ll always remember about him.”