To the Editor:
On behalf of the family of Thomas Barnett, we extend our sincere gratitude to the staff of the Sidney Daily News for nominating him for induction into the Ohio Associated Press Media Editors Hall of Fame. What a wonderful way to bring closure to his life’s work! It was his passion and, sometimes, pain. News people were his extended family, especially the crew there in Sidney! In 2008, that became critically important, due to the passing of our mother Regina, his wife of 58 years. He missed her terribly, and thankfully, he had his work to maintain some sense of normalcy. At this same time, ownership of the regional newspapers was changing, and electronic publishing was increasing in demand. He shared with us his concerns about the future of physical newspapers, but professionally and tenaciously, he continued doing what he loved, proving that those with the gift will always be in demand.
When he retired in 2013, his Sidney Daily News family gave him a fantastic send-off. We were so moved by their care and hospitality! It was then that we learned of the staff’s first OAPME Hall of Fame nomination for Dad.
When he passed last year, we received many condolences from former coworkers spanning the four newspapers of his 68-year career. Several individuals shared “Tom stories” with us at his visitation, and one even shared hers at his funeral. All were lovely tributes. And then earlier this year, we learned that the Sidney staff had continued to nominate Dad for the Hall of Fame, and this time he was selected for induction posthumously.
On May 3, we traveled to Columbus to accept Dad’s award with his great-granddaughter Georgia Underwood, grandson Blaise Underwood and his wife Krysti; grandsons Nick, Alex and Aaron Thompson and son-in-law Joe Thompson. We were so proud and honored to be there!
We also want to thank the staff for inviting us to share a SPOT meal with them to celebrate Tom’s induction (The SPOT was his favorite place to grab dinner when he was working the “beats” downtown). It was especially fun to share “Dad stories” with them. We truly felt a sense of his spirit in our midst. May each of you know that your work is appreciated and that no matter how the distribution channels evolve, your excellence in reporting will always be needed and respected!
Toni Barnett Thompson