Dan and Hannah Say Good-Bye to Barry

Barry died from cancer last week. He just turned 65. When you are 67 like Hannah and I are, 65 is young. I only knew Barry for a short time; maybe met him five times tops, but his spirit grabbed me. It certainly grabbed a few others as 1200 came to his calling hours in the nearby small town of Kittery, Maine. The few times Hannah and I got together with Barry were when we played ping pong v. Barry and his, and our good friend, George.

Ping pongThroughout his treatment, Barry was irrepressibly upbeat and alive. It was said of Barry that if you met him once, you wouldn’t forget him. He didn’t waste a minute feeling sorry for himself. Never complained about the hand he was dealt. Just lived, and then lived some more.

His death gives me pause about my own endgame. While Barry’s passing leaves a hole in George’s heart, I am left with an idea how I might play my final cards.  Taking some tips from Barry – Laugh.  Be spontaneous.  Remember it’s all about family.  Be a little or a lot outrageous.  Live with joy each day.

I believe, Today is a loan. Use it wisely, especially at 67.

 

No surprise that his memorial service was standing room only. His sister-in-law included these words in the program.

As Barry pedaled toward the Pearly Gates hootin’ and hollerin’, St. Peter waved him through. “No need to stop here, we’ve been waiting for you. You did your job on earth in great fashion. No one who met you there will ever forget you and the laughter you brought to them. There are lots of folks here that have been waiting to meet you. Get to work!”

 

My final words are from Richard Bach’s Illusions that I recited at my brother-in-law Doug’s memorial service thirteen years ago when he passed at the age of 56. Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.

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3 thoughts on “Dan and Hannah Say Good-Bye to Barry

  1. I was sorry to hear of Barry’s passing…and sorry to have been unaware of his service. Although we were not objectively close friends, it always felt like we were whenever we’d run across each other. I knew him since high school … in fact, we played against each other in high school basketball and then later in men’s league basketball. Despite the historically fierce rivalry between York and Traip, we always got along. Somehow we managed to play hard and yet constantly joke around in between plays. In later years, I would see Fletch occasionally when we were both working at the Shipyard. Every encounter included lots of laughs.

    Dan, I agree with all your sentiments regarding Barry and the lessons that we can take from his life. I’d have to say that he embodied a rare combination of traits – he was a larger than life character who never seemed to take himself the least bit seriously.

    • When Barry learned from York, yours was the name he mentioned as a basketball rival. He was larger than life. Your memories of Barry are similar to what we heard at the service. He was a good dude.

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