Barnhart Founder Passes Away at 90


Richard Barnhart, the founder of Barnhart Crane and Rigging Co., passed away at his residence in Millington, TN, on Jan. 21, at the age of 90.

His life was nothing short of extraordinary. Richard and his beloved wife, Nancy, celebrated 68 years of marriage while raising three children, constructing four homes, establishing a thriving company in 1969, and embarking on a global sailing adventure. Beyond his family life, Richard served as a scoutmaster, contributed to the construction of structures for Young Life camps nationwide, and generously donated millions to various charitable organizations. Instrumental in launching a Young Life Club in Millington, TN, he remained actively engaged in Methodist churches for 56 years.

Richard's commitment to service extended to his four years in the Navy Seabees and his pursuit of a BS in Civil Engineering from UMASS. In 1969, he founded Barnhart Crane and Rigging Co. in Memphis, starting with a handful of employees and an office within his own home.

Leading local projects, Richard oversaw the steel erection of iconic structures like the Pyramid, the Monorail Bridge to Mud Island, the Memphis Convention Center, the Med, and Bellevue Baptist Church. Recognized for his entrepreneurial prowess, he was inducted into the Society of Entrepreneurs in 2008. Under the leadership of his sons Alan and Eric, the company expanded to employ over 1800 individuals across more than 50 cities.

Despite his retirement, Richard's industrious spirit persisted throughout his life. From aiding Hurricane Katrina cleanup efforts on the Gulf Coast to personally clearing downed trees with his sons just weeks before his passing, he remained deeply involved. For the last 21 years, he lived on 200 acres in Millington, TN, where he continued to demonstrate his work ethic by constructing various structures from trees he cut down and processed with his sawmill.

Richard's legacy encompasses not only his wife Nancy, children Eric, Alan, and Donna, but also 12 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He leaves behind a profound impact marked by a lifetime of service, innovation and unparalleled dedication to his craft. Richard Barnhart will be sincerely missed.


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