Faith and family came first for mom and nurse, says son

Gladys Jackson Moncrief Barnett died on Tuesday, after living a life dedicated to practicing her faith, spending time with her family and helping those around her.

She was 78.

Barnett, originally from Sherill, was a single mother to three children. In the words of her son, Keith Jackson, “She never made excuses,” adding, “She was never looking for a hand-out because she was a single mom. Whatever it took, she did what she needed to do to get it. done. “

Jackson, former NFL tight end and founder of Little Rock PARK (Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids), spoke fondly of his mother’s role in his life and credited her for her ability to establish PARK after retiring from the NFL.

“God gave me the vision, my mother gave me the tools,” Jackson said.

With an evident drive for success, Barnett spent her years moving from one accomplishment to another.

Her family said Barnett worked diligently to raise her three kids – Byron, Keith and Gwen – all while working toward a bachelor’s degree in registered nursing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Barnett was one of 11 children. After graduating in 1972, she became the first college graduate of her family.

“My mother knew that education was the next step in being successful and it became the key component in our family,” Jackson said. “I always joke that my mother was a woman who single-handedly raised a philanthropist, a soldier and a teacher, because of her role in our lives and her awareness of the importance of education. All of her kids are overcomers.”

Barnett’s continued passion for caring for others extended beyond college, as she began working at Baptist Hospital in Little Rock. Her family described her as tending to patients during that time with “[a] Huge smile and contagious laugh for 34 years. “

Her family said she continued to help others after moving on from her work at Little Rock Baptist, with “no regard to distance,” making reference to medical mission trips to the West African nation of Ghana with colleagues in the Black Nurses Association.

Through all of her endeavors, Barnett kept her faith closest.

“She picked up her moments,” Jackson said. “She wasn’t loud and out there like me, but she had a strong belief, a strong faith and she never moved from that.”

Barnett’s family shed light on her desire to provide help such as financial support and teaching because of her “value of building lives on firm Christian foundations,” as well as her passion for establishing a positive environment in the lives of those around her.

Jackson made several mentions of his mother’s true priorities. Faith was the first. And, secondly, family. Jackson said, “She simply loved her family. If it wasn’t faith, it was family. Those were her two F’s. OK, maybe three or four F’s. Faith, family, football and food,” he said, adding a laugh. after his addition of ‘food’. He tied in the simple pleasures of life such as football and food into his mother’s continued support. He said how she traveled all over for her football games and hosted tons of gatherings so she could feed and visit with those she cared for.

“Truly, though, she did anything to help others, care for others, all of that. She fed so many people and had so many people over just to have them around and care for them,” Jackson said.

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