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Jennie Glee (Barnett) Vertrees

Jennie Glee (Barnett) Vertrees, 94, passed away peacefully in her sleep in Princeton, Missouri, on March 23, 2022.

She was born on March 13, 1928, the youngest child of Alvin Ray and Tina Mabel (Cousins) Barnett, on the family farm east of Mill Grove, Missouri. Her family came to Mercer County as some of the first homesteaders in the 1850s, clearing land and making a home.

Jennie was raised on the Barnett family farm during the Great Depression and World War II and learned the value of hard work from her parents and siblings, Charlie and Daisy. She attended the Calvert rural school and graduated from Princeton High School in 1945. On October 21, 1945, Jennie married George Eli Vertrees, who passed away in 1984. In 1949 she earned her associate of arts degree from Trenton Junior College (now North Central Missouri College) and in 1955 her BA and BSE degrees from Southwest Missouri State University. Jennie was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for graduate school in Germany, and in 1955-56 attended Johannes Gutenburg University in Mainz, Germany, where she met lifelong friends and fellow students, Dona Reeves-Marquardt and Kay Shafer. Later, Jennie also earned her BSN degree in nursing while living in Colorado.

In the mid-1950s Jennie and her husband, George, moved to George’s home state of Colorado. While living in Colorado, she and George adopted three children, Paul, Sarah, and David. She is the grandmother of four young women, Angela, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth, and is the great-grandmother to two boys, Wade and Cal.

Jennie’s working life spanned over 60 years. She was employed as a public school teacher, a bookkeeper for the family business in Colorado, a registered nurse in both Colorado and Missouri, as well as a nursing instructor at North Central Missouri College. She also lived a life of service to her community, giving back at every opportunity. She served in various leadership positions in the Daughters of the American Revolution, Grand Army of the Republic, Coon Cemetery Association, Northwest Missouri Area Agency on Aging, Missouri Silver Haired Legislature, Park County (Colorado) Historical Society, Mercer County Historical Society, Mercer County Genealogical Society, and Order of the Eastern Star. A devout Christian, Jennie also served as a licensed local pastor in the United Methodist Church for many years. As a gifted writer and historian, Jennie did extensive research of the genealogy and history of her family and the local community and included much of that knowledge into her weekly newspaper column, “Ramblin’ with Jennie”, that appeared in the Mercer County Mirror for nearly 20 years.

Jennie lived a long and full life. Some of her adventures included hitchhiking across Europe, white water rafting in Alaska, camping in Colorado, and many worldwide travels to Hawaii, Panama, Costa Rica, and every state in the United States. Always inquisitive, Jennie never let an opportunity go by without researching the places she was going to visit and the people she was to encounter there. Jennie often said that if you don’t learn something every day, it’s a day wasted. She also once said that when an old person dies, a library burns, and Jennie was a walking, talking encyclopedia. Jennie loved spending time with her close family, friends, and even people she had just met. Her energy, humor, and wit were contagious, and her loud and frequent laughter could be heard from long distances. Jennie’s work ethic and intellect were instilled in her children, and she is remembered as a loving and tireless mother who never ceased to provide opportunities and support for her family.

Jennie is survived by two of her children, Paul (Mary) Vertrees of Canon City, Colorado and Sarah (Roger) Claycomb of Bethany, Missouri; granddaughters Angela (Seth) Wooderson of Kansas City, Missouri, Rachel, Hannah, and Elizabeth Vertrees of Canon City, Colorado; great-grandsons Wade and Cal Wooderson of Kansas City, Missouri, as well as numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, and many friends.

In addition to her husband, George, she is preceded in death by her parents Ray and Mabel (Cousins) Barnett; brother, Charlie Ray Barnett; sister, Daisy Lee (Barnett) Vanvacter; in-laws Roy and Elizabeth Vertrees; brother-in-law, Roy Allen Vertrees; sister-in-law, Edith (Vertrees) Arthur and her youngest son, David.
Daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, niece, teacher, healer, and traveler…Jennie will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Graveside Services and burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, March 28 in Coon Cemetery, rural Mercer County, MO under the direction of Roberson Funeral Home, Princeton, MO. There is no scheduled family visitation. In lieu of flowers or cards, a memorial donation may be made to the Coon Cemetery Association and/or the Mercer County Historical Society in care of Roberson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 316, Princeton, MO 64673. Online condolences may be left at

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