In Memory

Carolyn Fortney (Barnhart)

Carolyn Marie Barnhart, age 68, of Menomonie, Wisconsin moved to her heavenly home on November 9, 2020. She was surrounded by her loving family. Carolyn is now joyfully with Jesus Christ her Lord and Savior. Carolyn battled a rare leukemia (APL) for almost three years.

She was born on May 2, 1952, in Viroqua, Wisconsin to Florence (Wilson) and Elvin Fortney. She was a 1970 graduate of Viroqua High School.

She married Larry Barnhart on August 6, 1972, in Viroqua, Wisconsin at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. She said it was the best decision she made. They were blessed with four children: Scott Barnhart (Menomonie), Amy Rynes (Menomonie), Eric Barnhart (Menomonie) and Tom Barnhart (Omaha, NE). Carolyn was enormously proud of her family and their accomplishments. She photographed their musical performances, cheer/dance performances and sports competitions.

Carolyn had a passion for learning. She earned her bachelor’s degree from UW-Stout in 1974 in Home Economics Education, her master’s degree in Educational Administration in 1978 and her Doctor in Education in 2001, both from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis.

She taught at UW-Stout for 36 years retiring in 2011 and then continuing to teach, by invitation, on-line.

While at UW-Stout Carolyn was a member and leader in her profession of Family and Consumer Sciences. She served on advisory boards and reviewed programs. At the time of her passing she was serving as Awards and Recognition Chair for WAFCS and had been President of WAFCS. She served as national President of the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and national President of Phi Upsilon Omicron-a national honorary in Family and Consumer Sciences.

She believed in leadership through service. This meant as a teenager she became an 18-year member of 4-H earning national awards, a national committee member and state President of FHA, and was active in Girl Scouts and the Interdenominational Teens for Christ. She was the 1970 Wisconsin Outstanding Teenager bestowed by the Outstanding Americans Foundation.

When she came to UW-Stout as a first-year student she met Larry. They were active in the Optimists and the Menomonie Booster Club. As her children grew, she became active in the United Methodist Church as Sunday School Superintendent and member of the School District of the Menomonie Area Facilities Committee. She also was a lector and substitute Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher for Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

Her board service included the School District of the Menomonie Area, Clerk and Chair of the United Way, Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts as President, and President of the Alpha Tau Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma. She also served on the state Finance Committee for Delta Kappa Gamma. Also, she was a member of the national Phi Upsilon Omicron Foundation Board and Council, the Wisconsin Delta Kappa Gamma Foundation Board, the national Child and Nutrition Board, the Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Council and at the time of her passing on the Wisconsin Family, Career and Community Leaders Foundation, the Stout University Foundation and the Wisconsin Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (WAFCS) boards.

She received the following distinguished awards: The Twin Cities Food and FCS Professionals honored her with TCHEIB Member of the Year, Phi Upsilon Omicron, the Bachtel Collegiate Advisor Award, the Leader Award with WAFCS and AAFCS, Advisor of the Year Award, AAFCS Student Unit, Girl Scouts Woman of Distinction for Preparing Women for Responsible Adulthood, and Delta Kappa Gamma’s Lorraine Missling Award. 

Most recently, the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences honored her and three others with the Distinguished Service Award. She was inducted into the national Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Leadership Hall of Fame in celebration of FCCLA’s 75th Anniversary. She was also selected by Phi Upsilon Omicron National Honor Society with the Florence Fallgatter Distinguished Service Award.

She served as a role model for several. She co-advised the Tau chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron at UW-Stout. She also assisted in the founding and coordination of the Leadership Academy for New Professionals for the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. It is an Academy offered around the United States every two years.

Also, she was UW-Stout as Teacher of the Year and Program Director and Teacher of the Year in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. She also served as Department Chair of Food and Nutrition at UW-Stout until her retirement.

Although receiving these recognitions, Carolyn preferred recognizing her family, students, and other colleagues. Her greatest honors were marriage to Larry, mother of four children, and grandmother to seven cherished grandchildren.

Her overall goal in life was to help others discover the joy of life in Christ. She wanted to be a blessing to others.

Carolyn is survived by her husband for 48 years, Larry, and their children: Scott (Lindsay) Menomonie, Amy Rynes Menomonie, Eric (Danielle) Menomonie, Tom (Chelsea) Omaha, NE. Brothers and sisters in law: Patti Fortney Hoffman Estates, IL, Bob (Dianne) Fortney West Salem, WI, Judy Fortney Dodgeville, WI. Brother and sister-n-law Colleen and Greg Lentz Eau Claire, WI. Seven grandchildren: Caleb and Isaac Rynes, Kyah, Asher, Claire, James and Reece Barnhart and nieces and nephews and their spouses and children along with dear relatives and friends.

She is preceded in death by her parents: Elvin and Florence Fortney, brothers: Thomas, Kendall and Rodney Fortney, In-Laws Dorothy and Byron Barnhart, aunts, uncles, relatives, and friends.