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Obituary: Jeanne Barnett Dies

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Jeanne Kahn Barnett

Jeanne Kahn Barnett, 82, a retired Labor Department analyst who helped develop the Neighborhood Youth Corps as part of the Johnson administration's War on Poverty, died July 15 of peritonitis at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. She was a longtime Alexandria resident.

In a 50-year career as a social-policy analyst, writer and editor, Mrs. Barnett focused on training and employment efforts designed to improve the working lives of women and young adults. She was a member of the Labor Department task force that devised the Neighborhood Youth Corps and Job Corps and also served as deputy director of the Neighborhood Youth Corps. Both programs grew out of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.

Later, she was named to the senior staff of the Labor Department's assistant secretary for policy, evaluation and research, where she directed a number of the department's submissions to the White House. She and a colleague, Jocelyn Gutchess, developed a program designed to train and place stay-at-home women ready to join the workforce as counselors in various anti-poverty programs.

Mrs. Barnett was born in Manhattan and grew up in Brooklyn. She graduated from Packer Collegiate Institute and received her undergraduate degree in anthropology and political science, with honors, from Cornell University in 1946. She was the recipient of a Rockefeller Fellowship as an intern with the National Institute of Public Affairs, a program designed to encourage careers in government.

In the early 1950s, she moved to Richmond, where her husband was an editor for the Richmond News Leader and where she was information director of the Richmond Red Cross. She also wrote freelance articles for the News Leader and the Richmond Times-Dispatch and, after moving to the Washington area, wrote for the Washington Star and Women's National News Service.

After retiring from the Labor Department in 1982, she researched and wrote monographs on workplace issues. They were published by Work in America Institute, a research organization. She also devoted retirement time to volunteering at the local mental health center.

Mrs. Barnett's husband, David L. Barnett, died in 1995. A son, Randy Barnett, died in 2007.

Mrs. Barnett is survived by her two daughters, Megan Barnett of Alexandria, Janie Barnett of Brooklyn, daughter-in-law Dr. Nancy K. Barnett of Falmouth, and three granddaughters, Sara Barnett, Kate Barnett, and Adrienne Hanson.

A memorial service to celebrate Jeanne’s life will be held on September 20th at the Mt. Vernon Unitarian Church, 1909 Windmill Lane, Alexandria, Va. 22307.

Donations can be made in her name to Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, and the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.