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Barnhart Founder Dies

Richard Barnhart, founder of Barnhart Crane and Rigging Co., passed away at his home in Millington, TN on January 21st at the age 90.   

Richard lived an extraordinary life. He was married to his bride Nancy for 68 years. They raised three children, built four houses, started a successful company in 1969 and sailed around the world. Richard served as a scoutmaster, built and donated several structures for Young Life camps around the country, and donated millions of dollars to organizations that helped people. He was instrumental in starting a Young Life Club in Millington, TN, and was involved in Methodist churches for 56 years. 

Richard served in the Navy Seabees for four years. He received a BS in Civil Engineering from UMASS. In 1969, he founded Barnhart Crane and Rigging Co. in Memphis with just a few employees. Its first office was his personal home.

Several local projects that Richard led include the steel erection of the Pyramid, the Monorail Bridge to Mud Island, the Memphis convention center, the Med, and Bellevue Baptist Church. In 2008, he was inducted into the Society of Entrepreneurs. In the meantime, the company, which is led by sons Alan and Eric, grew to employ over 1800 people in more than 50 cities.

A Creative Engineer

Though Richard retired, he continued to work all his life. He made eight trips to the Gulf Coast with his specially modified tractor to help clean up after hurricane Katrina.  He was on his tractor clearing downed trees with his sons a few weeks before he passed. For the last 21 years he lived on 200 acres in Millington, TN (near Shelby Forest).  In addition to the house, he built several structures, most octagonal in shape, from trees he cut down and processed with his sawmill.  He has always been a hard worker, a creative engineer and a craftsman. He will be greatly missed.

Richard leaves behind his wife Nancy, children Eric, Alan and Donna, 12 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and a legacy of service and innovation.