18 December, 2007

Paula and I have asked for this to be read today on our behalf…..

We are extremely sorry that we could not attend today. We are in Paris and have some personal issues to deal with…..

Paula has a issue with her lymph nodes that the doctors are trying to sort out and she has some issues with her inner ears due to implant surgery that causes her ears to cloud over….The airplane would increase the pressure and make it almost unbearable….

I have to go to China on business soon and the Chinese Embassy has my pass-port and I was unable to get it back on such short notice…..

However, both Paula and I are here very much in spirit, just as our dear friend Barney is…..

What can we say about our dear, beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend and shipmate, that all of us do not already know ? We do not want to mourn the passing of Barney, but rather we want very much to celebrate his life and I want to give so much thanks to God that he came not only into my life, but also into Paula’s. We both loved him so very much…..

For me, Barney and I go back 50 years, we graduated Class “A” Radioman school in Norfolk together, went home on leave together, went to the Brooklyn receiving station to await the sailing of the USNS Buckner, which then took us to South Hampton. Then it was up to London to await the “”Beer Run Plane to take us to Derry…..Oh those days and nights in London for us young 18 year old country boys from central Wisconsin. Can you only imagine what we experienced as those young boy’s on our way to manhood, loose in London ?? I can tell you, our money gave out long before we did……

For the next 2 years, Barney and I experienced so many things, not only together, but also separately. Barney continued his love for basketball by playing in the “NST” team around Ireland. I know that Barney was the US Navy’s roving ambassador in Ireland, just as he was life’s roving ambassador no matter where he went or who he met…..Everyone instantly loved him. I have never known another man that had such an effect on everyone he met…..

There are many many sea-stories to tell about Derry and number 3 Robert’s Street (where I lived and Barney always was borrowing my keys when I had the mid-watch)------Never quite knew why he always wanted my keys, but I am sure he had a good reason…..

There are so many things I will never ever forget about my buddy, I remember the day we found out that we both had made third class Petty Officer, what a party that was……
The list could go on and on forever about “Barney” stories……

Barney also met and married Joan and started raising his family….Later he always said that him and I went to Derry together, and later I left with my sea-bag, and then still later, he left with not only his sea bag, but also with a wife, children and a dog……..How well I remember their wedding, he told me that he always kept the bone handled steak knives that I gave them….I always kept my piece of their wedding cake and in fact, just a year or so ago, I gave it back to him and said that maybe Gisele would like to have it…..I tasted it, but it did not weather so good, I think it needed more rum in the recipe…..But not to worry, we received our “Rum Ration” in a different way on that wedding day in Derry…..

Barney was always short a little money between every payday. He would always ask for a twenty, which of course I always gave him. Then on payday he’d give it back to me….Then 2 weeks later he’d ask for it again…..I finally told him, look Barney, when you pay me back, just put it under my skivvies in my locker and when you want the twenty back, just go and get it again…..This went on for all the time I was in Derry….Later this played an important role in our lives……

I left Derry, Barney stayed for awhile yet…..I left the Navy, Barney stayed for a while yet…..He traded his white hat for a Chief’s hat and rightly so……..I always remembered the story that was told around the world by a new boot Radioman striker, when he was stationed with the Chief, and could not believe how fast he could take the code with a Stick”…..To the uninformed here, that means to copy the morse code, not with a typewriter, but with a pencil……Just another great Barney story…..

Then our lives took quite different paths and we lost track of each other…..

Barney lost Joan and then found Margaret…..If there ever was a man who deserved 2 such wonderful women in his life, it was Barney…..Barney’s family then expanded and how he took care for all of them, children, grand children, in-laws, all of them…..Barney had a generous heart, which was as big as his grin…..I always said to Paula, that Barney is a much better man than I will ever be……

One day I managed to track Barney down through the US Navy locator service. I sent the Navy my letter to Barney and then the Navy sent it on to him…..When he received the letter, he thought that I had tracked him down for my 20 bucks, as when I left Derry, maybe the 20 was not under my skivves……Even if it was not there, it was the best spent 20 bucks either one of us ever spent in our lives……

He called me that night and I think we talked for hours…..My God was it good……The only thing better, was when we then met in person again……

Barney and Margaret came to New London Wisconsin for their wedding reception…..This was typical of Barney in so many things that he did…..To come all that way to have the reception with his home town friends so they could get to meet Margaret and help them share the moment….

From then on we stayed in very close touch with each other…..Paula had heard so many Barney stories, that she said she knew him before she even met him…..When she did meet him for the first time, she also instantly fell in love with him…..Although I think she had already fallen in love with him through all my Barney sea-stories…..

Margaret, Barney, Paula and I just grew closer over time….We worked on the Mini-reunions together and what a time we had. It could not have been any more wonderful then to get together with each other and so many of our shipmates and dear friends…..

Barney and Margaret came to Wisconsin to visit us and we went to New London where Barney grew up and he was a great “tour director”. We visited with some of his high school friends and even to find and visit his sister and parents in their final resting place…..

We also had the good fortune to go to Myrtle Beach this year and spend some time with Margaret, Barney, Bud, Jim and their families, along with some dear shipmates and wives……As it turned out, it was the last liberty that we had together, and for that, Paula and I are forever grateful…..

And so with that, dear Barney, we do not say good-bye to you, but rather, just so long. For one day we will be all together again and how we will all enjoy once again and forever, all those Barney Stories…..And I know, that at all the future reunions, there will always be more Barney sea-stories. For you and those stories, will be with us and in our hearts forever,

And there is one thing that I am for sure certain of, and that is, that you were in Heaven, 10 minutes before the devil knew you had shipped-out……I am positive of that……

Paula and I met with a Priest here and asked him to pray for Barney…..The priest said he would, and later said something very comforting, he said, “I can tell that you loved your friend Barney very much, but also know, that God loves him even more” ……It was something very special in the moment, and something very nice to keep in our hearts and souls forever…..


And now, please join us as we pray to God for the following:

Our heavenly Father, we are gathered here today in body and in spirit to celebrate the life of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, shipmate, buddy and friend…..

We thank you Lord, for the privilege of having this dear man in our lives and hearts. All of our lives are better for having had Barney with us in person and now in spirit…..

Please welcome Barney into your Kingdom for eternity and give his soul eternal rest and peace…..Reunite him with his parents, family, shipmates and friends who have went before him….We also ask that one day, with your grace, we can all be together again in your blessed kingdom….…..

Please give Margaret, children, grandchildren, the whole family, shipmates and friends, the strength to go on without Barney in person, and let us feel your healing presence here today for our great loss…..

And now let us join hands in person and in spirit, and pray together, as you taught us pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thine name,
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, just as it is in heaven,
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, just as we forgive those, who trespass against us,
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and forever,