Ralph Dale Barney passed away at Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, Utah, on February 19, 2023, at the age of 91. He was a beloved father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather; a highly respected academic and educator; a U.S. Navy Korean War veteran; and a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Despite his impressive professional achievements, Ralph would probably say his greatest accomplishment is his family. Married for 62 years to Linnea Smith Barney, a woman he didn’t fully believe he deserved, he dedicated his life to being a devoted son, husband, and father of seven children, grandfather of 26, and great-grandfather of 23. His family most assuredly experienced the humorous, witty, caring, and sarcastic version of Ralph that many of his students may not have known existed. Well, they likely did get plenty of humor and sarcasm.
Born in Mesa, Arizona, on September 10, 1931, to Ralph Gorman Barney and Norma Coleman Barney, Ralph grew up in Arizona, living and attending school in several towns including Tucson and Tempe. His family moved to Flagstaff when he was 12 years old, where he graduated from Flagstaff High School and attended Arizona State College at Flagstaff (now Northern Arizona University) for one year.
Facing a military draft for the Korean War, Ralph proactively enlisted in the Navy and served four years aboard the heavy cruiser USS Saint Paul in Korean waters and the Sea of Japan. In one experience while onboard the Saint Paul that had a lasting impact on Ralph’s life, the cruiser provided gunfire support to UN troops advancing on Chongjin when shrapnel from a near miss by a Communist shore battery wounded six of his shipmates at gun mount stations, some fatally.
After his military service, he studied at Brigham Young University and was the editor of the campus student newspaper, The Daily Universe. In 1957 he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and began his career as a reporter at the Deseret News.
While at BYU he met Linnea Smith of Farmington, New Mexico, and married that fine woman on September 26, 1958, in the Mesa Arizona Temple.
As part of an academic career focused largely on journalism and media ethics, Ralph earned his master’s degree at the University of Iowa and a doctorate at the University of Missouri, both in journalism. His teaching career included 10 years at the Church College of Hawaii (now BYU-Hawaii) and more than 25 years at Brigham Young University. While at CCH he also held the post of director of public relations for both the college and the Polynesian Cultural Center. At BYU he served as chair of the Department of Communications and was the founding editor of the Journal of Mass Media Ethics. His professional activities also took him overseas for several teaching and other assignments, including to Fiji as a Fulbright Scholar in 1981, to China in 1988, and to Indonesia and Malawi as a USAID consultant.
A side effect of his years at BYU, he was a longtime, dedicated fan of BYU sports, and for decades held basketball and football season tickets. He was also known to spend his office hours at the baseball field, supporting the team.
As a lifelong, faithful member of the Church, he served for many years as a Sunday School and High Priest group instructor, among other callings. He also served a welfare services mission at the Lindon Welfare Cannery and was an ordinance worker in the Mount Timpanogos Utah and Provo Utah Temples.
His wife of 62 years passed away in 2020, and he is survived by seven children: Randall (Sylvia) Barney, Coleman (Kaylene) Barney, Kevan (Denise) Barney, Dalin Cyra, Maren Barney, Nathan (Paula) Barney, and Nicholas (Dagmara) Barney, in addition to the previously mentioned 26 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Friday, February 24, 2023, at 10 a.m. at the Cherry Hill 7th Ward chapel located at 135 East 2000 South in Orem. A viewing for friends and family will be held just before the service from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Burial will be in the Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park.
Condolences may be expressed to the family on this page.
For those unable to attend the services they will be streamed starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 24 via Facebook Live at the following link: https://fb.watch/iUJJJ_Gd61/