Hospital authority chairman, 'friend of the hospital' dies

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Brunswick County Hospital Authority Chairman H.W. “Pete” Barnette has died.

Barnette, who has served on the hospital authority since 2001, was a Navy and Air Force veteran and a recipient of the state’s highest civilian honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine. He was 73 years old.

Last month, Brunswick Community Hospital hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking near the new hospital’s future site, to honor Barnette for his contributions to the hospital and healthcare in Brunswick County.

“This is one of the best things that ever happened in this county,” Barnette said last month, as he tossed the first shovel of dirt near the hospital’s future site.

Denise Mihal, president and CEO of Brunswick Community Hospital, said Barnette was a supporter and friend of Brunswick Community Hospital.

“He gave many hours of his life to prioritizing healthcare in Brunswick County,” she said.

“We will be forever grateful to him, and he will be missed by many here at the hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” Mihal said.

Hospital Authority member Martha Jo Hall, who has known Barnette for eight years, said she and the rest of the authority members were “just crushed” over losing their chairman and their friend.

“We’ve lost such a good friend and mentor,” Hall said

“He was just one of those positive people that kept you going and kept the group going,” she said.

Hall said of all Barnette’s accomplishments, including receiving the distinguished Order of the Long Leaf Pine, he always remained humble.

“It wasn’t about him. It was about where we were going,” she said.

“We will miss him,” Hall said.

Authority member and vice-chairman Ron Anderson said Barnette was dedicated to providing the best healthcare to the community.

“He was a great guy to work with,” Anderson said. “He was very dedicated to trying to do what was right for the community. He was committed and passionate about healthcare in the community.”

Anderson described Barnette as fair and thoughtful, and said he put the community’s needs before his own.

“He really tried to figure out the right thing to do.”

Barnette was a charter member and deacon at Brunswick Islands Baptist Church.

Barnette is survived by his wife, Sheila Kaufman Barnette.

In addition to Sheila, Barnette is survived by his children and stepchildren, his stepmother Willie Crawford, several grandchildren and a great-grandchild, two brothers and a sister.

Funeral services were scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Brunswick Islands Baptist Church, Mount Pisgah Road, Supply.