Toni Barnett Wainwright, 76, devoted wife, mother, grandmother and sister passed away on November 19, 2019 in Williamsburg, VA. She was born Oct. 2, 1943 in Cincinnati, Ohio to the late Gene Harold Barnett and Elizabeth Ann Sheppeard. Toni was a career personnelist for the Department of Defense where she dutifully served for more than 40 years.
Toni led a distinguished career serving in a multitude of leadership roles both domestically and internationally. In 1990, she was the first woman appointed to the Senior Executive Service (SES) at Headquarters, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, serving as the Civilian Personnel Director, making her the first woman to ever be the director of a major Army command.
In her career with the Army, she held positions in six Army operating Civilian Personnel Offices, three Major Command staff assignments, and three staff assignments at Headquarters, Department of the Army. Her last Army assignment was Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel and Installation Management at Headquarters, U.S. Army Europe, Heidelberg, Germany. Toni also directed operations for the Civilian Human Resource Management Agency (CHRMA), which provided personnel services to six different countries. She also served as the official Command spokesperson in negotiations with other U.S. Forces, the Sending States of other nations, and representatives of host nation governments.
Although she officially retired in July 2003, Toni described herself as a ‘failed retiree’ and was selected for appointment as the SES Director of the Defense Support Agency in Baghdad, Iraq. In 2005, she returned to the Army once again as the Deputy to the Assistant G-1 for Civilian Personnel, followed by an assignment in 2008 as a personnel adviser in the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs in the Department of Defense.
Toni was a member of the Board of Directors and Past President of the Army Civilian Personnel Alumni Association. She also served on the boards of the Association of the United States Army and the Timothy J. Maude Foundation.
Over her four decades of service, she received many awards and commendations, some of these included the Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service (twice), Presidential Rank Awards of Meritorious Executive (twice), Meritorious Civilian Service Award (with Gold Leaf Cluster), Superior Civilian Service Award, Commanders Award for Civilian Service, Army Achievement Medal, Exceptional Performance Awards (numerous), Army Staff Identification Badge (for Pentagon service), VII Corps Command Award for Individual EEO Excellence, V Corps Scroll of Appreciation, Coalition Provisional Authority (for Iraq service), and the Order of Merit, Federal Republic of Germany (Das Grosse VerdienstKreuz).
After retiring for the fourth time, Toni occupied her time enjoying her grandchildren, traveling with her husband Tommy, and visiting friends. She was also lifelong fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Cincinnati Bengals.
Toni is preceded in death by her husband, Thomas “Tommy” R. Wainwright. She is survived by her son, Sean H. Wainwright (Mary); grandchildren, Corey Richard Wainwright and Ella Grace Wainwright; sisters, Pat B. Bausman and Kristin B. Watkins (John); aunt, Wilma B. Hensler; nieces, Carol K. Knott (Bryan) and Lindsey B. Morgan; nephews, David Kessler (Lisa), Philip E. Briglio, Mike Parsons (Patty), and Kevin Wainwright (Candi); and sisters in-law, Janet W. Kessler and Judy Wainwright.
The family would like to thank the New Kent and Williamsburg Rescue Squad, the doctors and nurses at both the VCU Medical Center in Richmond, VA, and the Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center in Williamsburg, VA, and the staff of Brookdale Chambrel Williamsburg for their loving care and compassion.
A memorial service for family and local friends will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019 at First United Methodist Church, Newport News, Virginia. Interment will follow at Peninsula Memorial Park in Newport News.
Additionally, a ceremony will be held in the Washington, D.C. area after the New Year for the larger community of friends and co-workers to celebrate and remember the life and times of Toni. Final arrangements will be posted on the Facebook and the ACPAA page.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to First United Methodist Church, 10246 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, Virginia 23601.
Arrangements are under the care of Peninsula Funeral Home, 11144 Warwick Blvd., Newport News, VA 23601.