Vera W. Barnett

February 27, 1939 ~ January 28, 2023 (age 83) 83 Years Old

Vera Barnett Obituary


Vera Williams Barnett was born in Kiblah, Arkansas, on February 27, 1939. She was the first child born to Margie Lee and Emanuel Williams. Vera had three siblings from this union: Arbra, Paul, and Nathaniel "Ricky" Nelson. Over time, Vera received five additional siblings: Daniel "DC" Williams, Tommy Eugene Miller, Anthony Nelson, Annette Williams Parker, and Vernita Williams.

In 1945, when Vera was six years old, she moved with her family to Vanport, Oregon (now known as Portland, Oregon), where her father worked at the Multnomah Hotel and her mother at the shipyards. Just three years later, in 1948, Vera and her family fled the devastating Vanport Flood. After recovering from the flood, the family became members of Vancouver Avenue Baptist Church. Vera remained a member until moving to California shortly after graduating high school.

Vera attended Jefferson High School in Portland and graduated in 1957. Upon graduating, she received the Katherine Gray Award, a two-year scholarship for Black women for academic excellence. Vera played tennis, loved to read, and did puzzles of all kinds. She also loved to sew and was an excellent seamstress. Loving, compassionate, and protective, she cared for her brothers, guiding them through their formative years.

As a young woman, Vera had a job as a waitress. One night after her shift, Vera caught a ride home with a coworker and a few friends. On this car ride, she met her future husband, Frazier Barnett, who had joined the Air Force as an Air Force Policeman, and they were married shortly after.

Upon waiting for military housing, they lived in a hotel near Travis Air Force Base. One night while Vera slept and Frazier was working on the base, a fire broke out in the hotel. Vera escaped unharmed, but the young couple had lost everything. However, shortly after the incident, the Barnetts were placed in an apartment on the base.

A short time later, Vera gave birth to her first child, Denise Renée. Four years later, she welcomed her second child, Kevin Emanuel.

Sadly, in July of 1965, when her children were just 6 and 2 years old, Vera was involved in a horrific car accident in which she was the only survivor. In the chaos and aftermath of the tragic accident, when Vera arrived unconscious at the hospital, they assumed she was deceased and placed her in the morgue. When the medical examiner returned to retrieve her, Vera's arm flinched. The doctor checked her pulse, and she was breathing! They promptly took her to the ICU, where she began a long 13.5-year recovery that included learning how to walk and talk again.

Once she recovered, Vera moved back to Portland to live with her father, Emanuel. It is there, in 1983, that she reunited with her daughter, Denise, who had spent her entire life never giving up faith that she would find her mother.

Since reuniting with her family, Vera has experienced and been a part of many blessed events: births, weddings, holidays, baptisms, graduations, traveling, and other precious moments. Vera's testimony of strength and survival has been heard and shared many times over. Her life has touched and inspired many.

On February 24, 1996, Vera gave her life to The Lord and was baptized as a member of the Your Bible Speaks Seventh-Day Adventist Church, where she has remained His good and faithful servant to the end.

In 2017, Vera suffered a setback in her health. However, God had His way and guided her back to health, learning to walk and talk for a second time in her life. A testimony to her strength, fortitude, tenacity, and faith.

On January 28, 2023, at 3:30 pm, Vera made her peaceful transition surrounded by her children, grandchildren, and adopted daughter, JoYvonne Shaw. Preceding her in death are her parents, Emanuel Williams, Margie Lee, and Milburn Nelson; brothers, Daniel "DC" Williams, Paul Williams, Anthony Nelson, and Arbra Williams; several uncles, aunts, and cousins.

She is survived by her children Denise Renée Barnett Williams (Esau) and Kevin Emanuel Barnett (Anna), brothers Tommy Eugene Miller and Nathaniel "Ricky" Nelson (Brenda), sisters Annette Williams Parker and Vernita Williams, nephew Paul Williams (Havannah), nieces Paula and Antonia Williams, grandchildren Leonard Ray Barnett, Vitina Lesau Williams, Dimitra Renée Williams-Weinstein (Aaron), Tana "Toni" McKenna Barnett, Nicholas Caleb Barnett, and Alexander Michael Barnett, great grandchildren Quincey White, Aelorya Barnett, Zaccarius Barnett, and Sarani Eesa Nina Weinstein, and a host of cousins, extended family members, and friends.


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Public Viewing
February 7, 2023

4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Terry Family Funeral Home
2337 N. Williams Ave
Portland, OR 97227


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