Barbara Mary Hartnett

Dr. Barbara Mary Witczak Hartnett, 74, Lawrence, lost her battle with cancer at home on April 27, 2021.

She was born to Matthew and Mary Witczak on Dec. 5, 1946 in Cicero, Ill. She graduated from St. Mary of Czestochowa grade school and then Nazareth Academy. She earned college degrees from the U. of Illinois (B.S.), Illinois State U. (M.S.) and Northern Illinois U. (Ed.D).

She met her future husband, Mike Hartnett, in high school in 1963. They married the day after graduating from Illinois in 1968. She taught Psychology for many years, at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, IL, rising to the rank of full professor. She later took early retirement and eventually became Executive Director of Friendship House of Christian Service, a social agency in Peoria, IL.

Barbara and Mike retired and moved to Lawrence in 2013. She then served on the board of directors for 10,000 Villages and Altrusa.

A celebration of her life will be held at 10:00 am Tues. May 4, at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home and live-streamed on the Rumsey-Yost Facebook page.

Contributions can be made to the Altrusa Foundation Barbara Hartnett Career Scholarship sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, PO Box 1260, Lawrence, KS 66044.

Messages & Condolences

From George Tinkham...

I have known Mike and Barb since 1965 at the University of Illinois and have remained in each other’s lives ever since. A relationship like that exists when there is a strong affection and respect – even admiration – for your friends. My heart aches with what Barbara had to endure, but I am filled with admiration of how well she handled this painful, difficult experience.

For the past few days, I have listened to Judy Collins’s rendition of the John Lennon song “In My Life.” Somehow, it makes me think of such a good person (and friend) as Barbara.

From Ayah Wakad...

My deepest condolences, Mike! Sending prayers your way. May Barb’s soul rest in peace, and may God bestow patience on you and your family!

From Michelle Kelly...

Barb was so much to so many! She took me in under her wing, encouraged me to do more & celebrated with me when I accomplished “more”. She made me feel like I could do anything & that I deserved more. Her sense of humor was probably my favorite thing about her, but she kind, strong, confident, beautiful, smart, & one of the best people I have ever known. She told people that Laura & I are her adopted daughters, we are so proud to accept that relationship with her. Who wouldn’t want Barb & Mike for parents?!? They are just amazing people! The world definitely will never be the same for me without her, but I will keep trying everyday to make her proud.

From Earl Adams...

Mike, I offer my heartfelt condolences, inadequate as those may be. Barb was such an enthusiastic, vital force that it is hard to accept there was anything she could not overcome. We often know about the teaching talent, skills, and effectiveness of our colleagues only second hand, through occasionally heard comments from mutual students. However, I had the privilege of sitting in for a full semester on one of Barb’s courses. She was bright, knowledgeable and organized, open and warm, and infectiously passionate about teaching and developing her students. Her example was an inspiration to me in our shared profession.

From Cheryl Botkin...

Mike,
I worked at PJS Publications same time as you. You were the editor of PCM & I worked in the mail room.
Cheryl Penn Botkin.
I was so sorry to see that Barb had passed away. I had only met her a handful of times during our stint at PJS. She always had a smile on her face & always spoke. I pray God will give you comfort & peace in these coming days. I am sorry for your loss.

Cheryl Penn Botkin

From Dixie and John McDonald...

Mike, can’t imagine how you are feeling now. You are in our thoughts and hearts! One of my now favorite memories was when Phil sold Craftrends and took us out to dinner. You and I were proud with his praise. John and Barbara, should I say not happy at all when dinner ended with goodby you craft people. I still laugh!
We send you love, Mike

From Gina Sticky...

Barb was a great teacher who will be sorely missed.

From Stephanie Waldschmidt...

Mike,
I am so sorry for the loss of your wife! It was a privilege to have known her and I will cherish her memory forever! May her memories leave you with comfort in the days to come!

From Judy Bradford...

I worked for Barb at ICC and always appreciated her humor and wit, her intellect and passion for social justice and her loyalty to and support of her team. Plus, she was a lot of fun. Thinking of you Mike. Sad for her passing. Glad for her life.

From Bettsey Barhorst...

It is difficult to express the grief that I feel and must admit I am still in denial! Barbara was one of my best friends since Mike introduced us in the Fall of 1969! Barb taught me and influenced my life more than even my loving parents did! I have remembrances of her in every room of my house—from the fountain in my zen room, the Afghans on every couch to the pizza stone in the kitchen. Barb was generous and thoughtful, and an amazing shopper. Most of all I am uplifted by her strength and her humor—even as she was dying! Thankfully she is out of pain and probably leading the angels in some campaign for some hurting underdogs. I am thankful for the gift of knowing Dr. Barbara Hartnett! And Michael, hang in there—you are much loved too!

From Paul Resnick...

I’m so sorry to learn this. Barb was a wonderful friend full of positive energy and compassion. She will be missed.

From john beaupre...

Mike-I was so shocked and surprised to see Barb had passed away. I have many fond memories of spending time with both of you. I hope your memories sustain you during this difficult time.

From Thomas K Thomas...

Barbara was a remarkable woman whose passion for teaching, students, and colleagues was something that all who knew her, was evident. She always made you feel positive when talking to her, and I always embraced the time we were together. She made a positive impact on the world around her, and everything she touched was made better by that touch. Lynn and my thoughts and prayers are with Mike and know we offer our deepest sympathy.

From Ken Williams...

I’m so heart broken to hear about the passing of my wonderful friend & colleague Barb. She taught me so much! My thoughts & prayers go out to Mike & the entire family! RIH my dear Friend!! God Bless, Ken Williams

From Tom Zettle...

I have no words to express my grief. Barbara was a wonderful person and friend.

From Georganne Bender...

I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Barbara but I can tell you that I loved every minute that I did. Mike, my heart goes out to you. I know how long and hard you both fought. I am sending love and prayers your way. I wish we lived closer.

From Katy RIley...

Barb will always be the vibrant soulmate of the best cousin anyone could have. I love you, Mike.

From Jo Taylor...

Barbara was a vibrant, intelligent, generous, funny, and caring person whose support of the communities where she lived will be long remembered.

From Casey and Eva Casebolt...

She was surely a hard battling soldier all the way!!!! Barbara’s messages sent on Caring Bridge were like none I had seen before—so strong, so positive. God Bless Barbara and her Mike!!

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