Remembering Gregg Barnette
Family and friends grieve the loss of our beloved Gregg Jon Barnette who passed away peacefully at the age of 74 on Saturday, January 9, 2021.
Gregg was born on July 31, 1946, in Compton, Los Angeles, CA, to Max and Eileen Barnette. They later settled in Ukiah, CA, before making Laguna Beach, CA their permanent home.
A longtime resident of Laguna Beach, Gregg was a talented local artist, designer, and hair stylist, and an inspiration to all who knew him. He saw joy and beauty in everyday items, creating artful masterpieces that were displayed across every inch of his environment. From illustrations and paintings to sculptures and mosaics, there was nothing that he could not elevate from ordinary to classy. Gregg was a passionate supporter and member of the local theater group, “No Square Theater,” where he performed annually in Lagunatics, satirizing local happenings and politics with song and dance. He also starred in local productions of “Honk” and in Del Shores’ “Sordid Lives,” which was invited to perform at the acclaimed Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland.
Early in his career, Gregg was a member of “The Young Americans” song and dance troupe touring alongside such greats as George Burns, Eddy Arnold, and Kate Smith. His talents were enjoyed during multiple performances on the “Dean Martin Show.”
Gregg was committed to supporting his life partner of 43 years, Bill Harris, in life and career. Their mutual love of travel took them around the world, logging thousands of miles in cruise adventures where they made friends and brought smiles to people from just about every continent. They shared homes in the Whitley Heights area of Los Angeles, as well as Palm Springs, CA. Together they lived a rich life surrounded by friends who adored them.
Among Gregg’s passions were all things Elizabeth Taylor and as the ultimate fan he amassed a beautiful collection of memorabilia. One of his favorite stories was when in his youth he first met his idol. While traveling with his mother on a cruise to Puerto Vallarta, Gregg immediately hiked up to the home of Ms. Taylor and Richard Burton. While sitting on the street looking up at her balcony, Elizabeth came out, greeted him warmly, and asked who he was. Gregg asked to take a picture, and Liz was so moved she said “I love that you asked. Of course you can.” Needless to say, Gregg was beside himself. It was a chance meeting he always cherished.
Gregg was preceded in death by his father, Max, and his mother, Eileen, and by his partner, William “Bill” H. Harris, III. He is survived by his brother Ron, his nephew Daron Wiemeyer, nieces Blair Barnette and Rebecca Barnette Bernier, great niece Anna Elizabeth Bernier, and by his aunt Gay Harter, and cousins Guy McCall, Darcy Thornborrow, Danny and Doug Meester, Dennis and Wesley Morrissey, Debi Hempel and Rocky Harter, and his sweet, furry canine companion, Ricky.
In lieu of flowers, donations to No Square Theater in Gregg’s name would be appreciated: https://www.nosquare.org/product-page/donate-to-no-square.