Hiram College

Kevin Barnett ’07

Following his graduation from Hiram College, Kevin Barnett ’07 worked for a few years with a national youth serving non-profit. While the work was rewarding, it was not the career he had in mind. So, in 2010, Barnett began school at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science.

After completing his degree, Barnett served his resident apprenticeship as a licensed embalmer with the team at Berkowitz Kumin Bookatz Memorial Chapel in Cleveland, Ohio, and then moved to the Washington DC metropolitan area. For several years, he worked at the Demaine Funeral Home in Springfield and Alexandria, with a primary role of coordinating services for members of the military community, foreign services, and United States government. In 2016, Barnett transitioned his work to one of the most prestigious funeral homes, Joseph Gawler’s Sons, LLC of Washington DC. Historically, the firm has served more presidents and heads of state than any other funeral home in the United States. Over the years, Barnett has assisted with funeral services for President George H.W. Bush; Senator John McCain; the former Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, Togo Dennis West Jr.; writer and director, William Peter Blatty; and the activist investor, Evelyn Davis. Barnett is also working toward additional licensing in Maryland, as well as coordinating speaking engagements to area high school students so that they may learn about the funeral process and experience.

Through his work, Barnett enjoys hearing the stories that families share about their loved ones. Oftentimes those stories are personal ones about how a couple fell in love, raised a family, started a business, developed amazing careers, immigrated to the United States, traveled, or just lived a special life. From those stories, Barnett creates meaningful tributes for those who have passed, and he believes that the skills he developed at Hiram help him successfully do just that.

“Hiram gave me a strong foundation for my career by educating me on not only the sciences, but a collection of other subjects that help me develop strong connections and bonds to the families and community that I serve,” said Barnett. “The wide range of subjects that we studied, and the close-knit community at Hiram taught me the value of diversity in both culture and knowledge, and how through that diversity, we can all find a commonality.”