Elizabeth Rogers Barnhart

Born on January 14, 1934

Departed on May 28, 2016 and resided in Lilburn, GA

Elizabeth Betty Rogers Barnhart died May 28, 2016, at A.G. Rhodes Rehabilitation Center in Atlanta, 14 years after suffering a brain aneurysm and stroke. She was 82.

Betty was born in Birmingham, Alabama, on January 14, 1934, to William and Elizabeth Rogers. She graduated from Auburn University then Alabama Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor's degree in chemistry, receiving the Comer Award as the top student in physical science. Later, she earned a master's degree in insect toxicology from Auburn. She went on to earn a doctorate in microbiology at Emory University while she had four school-age children at home. She studied the freezing properties of viruses, and her colleagues posted a sign on her freezer saying "Keep your hands off this THANG" in honor of her Alabama roots.

She worked as a laboratory technologist, high school teacher, college professor and, finally, researcher at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, where she retired in 1996.

She enjoyed travel, doing much of it in the course of her work with the CDC, World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization. She visited China, Japan, Guam, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Germany and Argentina, and she maintained friendships with several people she met along the way. She received numerous awards for her research and was widely published.

She had an infectious smile — she even smiled while sleeping — and a cheerful disposition that was undiminished by physical challenges that grew to include quadriplegia and hearing loss.

Betty loved flea markets, Auburn football, bird-watching and being near mountains or water. In retirement, she and her longtime companion, Louis Alexander shared a home in Melrose, Florida, where she often enjoyed swimming and boating and entertaining grandchildren.

In addition to Louis or "Papa," as the grandchildren call him, she is survived by her children, Beverly Brian O'Shea, Bob Cheryl Barnhart, Andy Belinda Lea Barnhart and Marcia Rusty Harris; her sister, Evelyn Banks Farris; and 11 grandchildren, Maggie James Perkins and Nick O'Shea; Kevin, Roger Lindsey and Andy Barnhart; Danny, Ryan, Trey and Joey Barnhart; and Randall and Bobby Harris.

A memorial service will be Saturday, June 4, at 10 a.m. at A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehab/Wesley Woods, 1819 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30329. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the wonderful A.G. Rhodes/Wesley Woods.

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Guestbook Entries

  1. J. Jones June 1, 2016 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Bev, Bob, Andy & Marcia & Barnhart Family: Deeply sorry to hear of the passing of your loving mother, Elizabeth. The Bible gives us hope of being reunited with our loved ones, following a resurrection from the grave, to live on a paradise earth. For more comfort please see http://www.jw.org. With Sympathy, J. Jones

  2. dot howell June 2, 2016 at 12:00 am - Reply

    Louis and Family my prayers are with you. Betty was a dear friend and a special part of our family for years, her smile and zest for life will live on in our hearts forever
    love you dot howell

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