Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages


Following three years of dedicated service to Simmons College, on April 16, 2019,

Board of Trustee Chair Cecil C. Barnett passed away at age 79.

Simmons College is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of its beloved Trustee, Cecil “Barney” Barnett. Since becoming part of the Simmons family in 2016, Barnett played an integral part of the recent growth and enhancements at Simmons College of Kentucky, Inc. He made headlines back in February following his pledge of $4 million to our school.

As chairman of the board, he recognized needs, suggested policies, lent his wisdom, and was a main staple at all of the college’s major events. Barnett was a passionate advocate for Simmons College—and a generous supporter. In 2018, Barnett and his wife Gillian surprised each graduate with a personal gift of $1000 of bridge funding to enter the world of work.

“Barney never forgot what it was like to grow up disadvantaged,” says Simmons College President, Rev. Dr. Kevin W. Cosby. “Once he was prospered, he used his blessings to assist others who were less fortunate. He was one of the best and truest friends that West Louisville ever had. I could not have survived as president of Simmons without his support, wisdom, and encouragement. He was a true partner in our building up this institution.”

Barnett is survived by his beloved wife Gillian, four children (James, Nicholas, Susan and Pamela), and seven grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at St. Stephen Church, 1018 South 15th Street, at 1:00 pm Saturday, April 20, 2019.

We are grateful for the time that Barney Barnett led Simmons College and honored that he chose St. Stephen Church as his spiritual home. Chairman Barnett exhibited the true spirit of Christ as he opened doors for others to gain the educational opportunities that transform lives.

About Cecil “Barney” Barnett

Born in Texas, Barnett held a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oklahoma in electrical engineering, and a Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard. He was founder and chairman of Algood Food Company in Louisville, which is the largest independent manufacturer of peanut butter in the United States. Its private label jams, jellies, and peanut butter rival the quality of key named brands. His employees remember him most for his kindness, compassion, and his love for Simmons College. Prior to building his own company, he served as president of Tube Turns, Inc. and a systems engineer for IBM and Cameron Iron Works.