Roberta Jean Littlefield Barnett

Published 8:40 am Monday, November 22, 2021

Roberta Jean Littlefield Barnett of Brookhaven, MS returned to rejoice with our Heavenly Father after having passed away quietly Friday, November 19th, 2021, at home.

Roberta, the daughter of Jesse and Ollie Littlefield, was born March 14th, 1931, in Benkelman, NE.

A strong Midwestern Work Ethic was instilled by both her Mother and Father as business proprietors of three businesses; a Nash Automobile Dealership, a Motor Lodge, and an active herd of registered Brown Swiss cattle where they employed Roberta as reliable, yet cheap labor.

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Roberta’s passion for music carried throughout her childhood into her college years and beyond. Having graduated from Colorado Women’s College in Denver, Roberta majored in Business accompanied with a Minor in Music.

A cornerstone of Roberta’s Love of Music and Arts was widely recognized in so many facets of her life. As a member of Brookhaven’s Matinee Musicale, she served not only as a member, yet president and secretary, while also hosting and performing many club meetings. Roberta and her late husband, Dr. Jim C. Barnett, worked tirelessly to promote the creation and development of the Mississippi School of the Arts situated on the historic Whitworth College Campus in downtown Brookhaven, MS.

As recent as November 7th, Roberta delivered an impromptu piano performance of “The Man I Love” by George Gershwin and “Darkness On The Delta” by Jerry Livingston.

Roberta was the epitome of “The True Southern Belle”; a life filled with satisfying others, there was no celebration beyond her ability to exceed expectations. A world traveler, having circumnavigated the globe at twice the speed of sound on the Concorde, Roberta and Dr. Jim traveled to each of the seven continents.

In 1990 Roberta became the President of the Women’s Auxiliary of Southern Medical Association, the second largest multi-specialty medical organization in the world with over 60,000 members.

Roberta took great pride in serving her Church, First United Methodist Church of Brookhaven as a member and active on several committees throughout the years, sharing her musical talents with all; her organization and eye for detail was welcomed and appreciated by those who knew her.

A life filled with adventure, achievement, faith, friends, family and love; Roberta silently had a love of aviation; a little-known fact, she trained and soloed in a Cessna at Raymond, MS.

Roberta is preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Dr. Jim C. Barnett (2013), son Jim (Jimmy) Barnett (2000), son Christopher (Chris) Barnett (2002) and son Patrick (Pat) Barnett (2016).

Roberta is survived by her daughter, Ellen Gerland of San Marcos, TX; sons Alex Barnett of Dumfries, VA, James (Jim) Matthews of Manheim, PA, Richard Barnett of Easley, SC, Glen Matthews of Baytown, TX, Mark Barnett of Georgetown, KY, John Barnett of Mosely, VA, Paul Barnett of Brookhaven, MS; 26 grandchildren; and a host of great- and great-great-grandchildren; Rascal, her “Sweet Kitty”, a precious three-legged cat and dozens of beautiful plants that will forever miss her green thumb.

Those who knew Roberta undoubtedly heard two of her guiding principles in life. “Make it Pretty” and “When a task is once begun, never leave it until it’s done, be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all.”

In lieu of flowers please make donations to Mississippi School of the Arts, 308 W Cherokee St., Brookhaven, MS 39601.

Condolences and other information are available online at