HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Family and friends of the late Kay Barnett gathered Tuesday morning at Wallace State Community College beneath the electronic billboard he lobbied for, dedicating the sign in his memory. Two signs at the base and on either side of the billboard read “In Loving Memory of Wallace Kay Barnett July 06, 1934-March 02, 2017.”
“I think all of you know Mr. Kay, as I called him, was a patriot,” said Wallace State President Dr. Vicki Karolewics. “He loved his country, he loved Hanceville, Alabama, he loved the Lions Club, he loved Wallace State, and I think he loved me a little bit. But he loved his God, he loved his family and he loved his friends.”
Dr. Karolewics said she and Mr. Barnett would often have conversations about the need for the digital billboard dedicated to him on Tuesday. “When are we gonna get a sign,” he asked her often, she said, with her replying they needed to wait until they could afford a sign that was big enough.
When the sign was up and running, one of the first slides read “In honor of Kay Barnett,” Dr. Karolewics said. “It was so funny because he called me and he was laughing…everyone was calling his house because they thought he had died,” she said. “And I said, no Mr. Kay, it doesn’t say in memory of, it says in honor of, but I’m going to name that sign for you because you made sure we got the right kind of sign at Wallace State.
“So, for as long as this sign stands and whatever comes after it, these signs will stay because he meant so much to this college. Selma, I am so proud to have had a friend in Mr. Kay and thank you for sharing him with me and for what he meant to Wallace State and this community.”
“Those of you who know me know that not many times am I lost for words. Now I’m lost for words,” said Mr. Barnett’s wife, Selma. “He dearly loved you, Vicki, and he was so proud of what you have accomplished on campus. Whether he was yelling at Larry Slater at a girls’ basketball game or he was rooting on [Coach Randy] Putman at the baseball game, he supported Wallace State and I am so delighted that he is honored in this special way. Thank you.”
The Barnett family established the Kay Barnett Memorial Scholarship Fund with the Wallace State Future Foundation. Contributions can be made at www.wsccfuturefoundation.org.