Our eyes are brimmed with tears of joy as we think of Robert (Bob) Barnes and the beautiful life that he lived and how deeply he loved and was loved. He is now dancing in heaven with the love of his life, Lula Christina Barnes (“Granny Lu”). When asked how long they were married, he simply would have answered, not long enough (it was 67 years). At the age of 97 the list of those preceding him in death and the list all those that were loved by and loved Bob is too vast to list. Bob’s cherished daughter Roberta Lou Ballentine and her husband Ben Ballentine (of New Philadelphia, OH) made many loving sacrifices to keep Bob in their home over the years allowing him to still be a part of many special memories. The extended family is grateful to them and to the friends and family that offered help and support to make it a reality. His grandchildren Chad McGlothlin (Shannon) of Dover, OH and Christin Woods (Todd) of Pleasant Hill, OH and his great grandsons Colin and Devon McGlothlin and Ryan and Liam Woods were a delight to Bob. His bonus “Ballentine family” filled with wonderful grandchildren, great grandchildren and a recently born great-great grandson he viewed as a gift. His siblings Betty (Jack) Dauer, Sherry (Jerry deceased) Cargnel, Bill Barnes (deceased), Barb deceased (Tom deceased) Barcroft and the many branches of their family trees were all deeply valued and loved, and many precious memories were created. His chosen family the Thomas family, Groh’s, Demonte Family, his hair designer of many years-Jill Capozella, VA caregiver-Jill Colvin…and many other treasured friends and family such as the Wikoff’s were a part of the heartbeat of his memories and life story. There are a lot of people that have had the honor of knowing Bob over the years and each of these people were a delight to him and brought great joy. Bob has left a rippling generational impact and to him, the people he loved are much more his legacy than anything he did or medals of valor that he earned.
Bob was chosen as a paratrooper and served in World War II. We’ve read that some of what was sought in paratroopers were men that demonstrated strength, courage, bravery and honor, all character traits that described him throughout his life. Bob once wrote on a gift to his great grandsons, to Honor the sacrifice with how you choose to live your life. He never stated it, yet it seems that if one reflects on his character and choices Bob made a conscious decision to honor the sacrifice of the soldiers he served with and never lost sight of the gift and privilege that he got to come home. Bob chose to see the world through an optimistic and joyful lens, he allowed himself to be fully present, and none of us recall him ever complaining or speaking ill of others.
In his 97 years lived he had many great adventures with one of the most treasured being his efforts to make his grandson’s goal of seeing all 50 states a reality and driving the family across the U.S.A. in the van and pop-up camper. Bob was a loyal Dover football fan and in support of the claim that he was an optimistic person; he was a lifelong Cleveland sports fan! Bob was creative and loved to create stained glass, plant flowers for others to enjoy, tinker, create computer programs for his grandchildren and go all-out decorating for the holidays with the intention of making others smile. Even into his 90’s, Bob was a force to be reckoned with on the Bocce court or at Ping Pong and he treasured the times over the years in his leagues and playing with family and friends. Pizza and playing board games and cards with friends, family, and his sibling’s families was a tradition.
Bob had always been a man of few words and was more so in more recent years. He instead spoke volumes with how he lived; if he did speak it was likely to be a pearl of wisdom or would make you smile. As Bob’s pace slowed and communication lessened it was common for people to mention to family members that he had such loving eyes and a peaceful countenance. Until his last weeks a day never went by that he did not spend time searching for the sun and even if he found just a glimmer of light, he’d comment with joy that “the sun’s a shining today!” Both the advances in technology and the beauty of nature were incredible to him throughout his life and the awe and wonder never escaped him.
When we lose someone, it causes us to reflect on our lives and if we are living life the way we want to be remembered as Bob did so beautifully. He gave generously and sacrificially of his time and money throughout his life. Bob and Lu were supportive of the arts, Scouts, St. John’s UCC, Heart-Song, Hospice of Tuscarawas County, Meals on Wheels, and any neighbor or community person that asked for their support. Or pehaps you will take pause in the hurried-paced life and take time to reflect in nature and on the beauty all around you and feel the awe and wonder even in the mundane and every day.
It does not seem enough to say Bob lived a long and beautiful life, while indeed he did, he will be sorely missed as an anchor in our family and community. The trade-off of allowing yourself to love fully is that it is beautifully devastating in the end, no matter how many years you shared. It is hard to say farewell and know that future memories will look differently from now on; so we say smile what he so often said as we parted, “See you later alligator…”
We invite you to come to celebrate and honor this special life with us on Monday, January 3rd at St. John’s UCC in Dover. Calling hours will be from 10:30-11:30am followed by a funeral service and a ceremony to honor his military service. A simple meal will be served in the Fellowship Hall. With current health safety concerns, we understand if you are unable to attend and we will take precautions for those that are able to join us, and we ask you to do the same. Masks are required. Those who may wish to express a fond memory of Bob can sign the online guestbook by visiting the funeral home website at www.tolandherzig.com
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to granddaughter, Christin Woods’ nonprofit organization, Heart-Song, Inc., 315 Public Square Suite 215, Troy, Ohio 45373 which guides people to live the way they want to be remembered. Other memorials may be made to St. John’s UCC, 409 N. Wooster Avenue, Dover, Ohio 44622, St. Peter’s Church, 3640 Oldtown Valley Rd. SW, New Philadelphia, Ohio 44663 or the charity of one’s choice.