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Obituary for Thomas Barnes
Thomas Richard Barnes, “The Professor”, age 79 of Galesburg, IL, passed away on May 5, 2015 at Cottage Hospital in Galesburg, following a battle with cancer and terminal stubbornness. He was born July 23, 1935 in Peoria, IL to John Thomas Barnes, Jr and Gertrude A. Mulroney. His father was a salesman for American Distillers, and his mother was a teacher. He had one brother, John “Mike” Michael Barnes. He had a lifelong love of Antiques that was instilled in him by his grandmother, who was the open buyer for Marshall Fields and Co throughout the Depression. He spent much of his childhood hunting and fishing along the Illinois river, accompanied by his beloved Airedale Terrier Lady. His love of nature was often interrupted by school attendance. His attendance at Maine Township High School near Chicago, which was frequently interrupted by going to pubs in downtown Chicago with his friend, a sonorous Irish tenor, to sing Irish drinking songs for free refreshment. He finished his high school career at Peoria Central High School, where he played football. He additionally attended Bradley University in Peoria, IL. He studied Art History and belonged to the TKE fraternity, who fully supported his previously developed love of distilled beverages. This support turned out to be counterproductive to studying. After leaving college, he worked for many years as an Orderly at Methodist Hospital. Following this he worked in sales, selling everything from shoes to vending machines. During this time, he began to collect Art Pottery, Stoneware, and Primitives and working on the side selling Antiques with his close friend, Robert A. Renkoski. He worked for Sommer Products as a parts manager, and when it closed in the early 80's, he was able to focus full time on his passion, Antique dealing, opening Spring House Antiques in 1982 on the Washington Square. He married E. Sue Rediger April 9, 1976. This marked the beginning of his most successful and important role, as a Father. The center of his world was his three children, and he often took them fishing and antiquing. He was their greatest cheerleader and took tremendous pride in each of their accomplishments. He had a gift for storytelling and was able to enter into the imaginative world of his daughters without effort. Recurring characters included Willard the Wombat, the hairless Goat that drank Kutz-it and lived in a bathtub, Tiggers, Narwhals, and THEM. Though his marriage ended, he and his ex-wife maintained a solid, singularly close friendship and co-parented with seamless grace, even after his ex-wife married Lester R. Hall in 1986. Thomas had a sharp, often acerbic and wildly inappropriate sense of humor, which he shared with exuberance. He loved classical music, rich foods, and limericks. He was a devout Catholic with a deep, abiding faith that he held very close to his heart. He was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Washington. He was delighted when one of his nephews entered the clergy. For the last few years of his life he lived at River Crossing Rehab center in Galesburg. He continued to charm and entertain staff even after losing some of his oratory flair to a tracheostomy. His face and body language said everything his mouth could not. He appreciated and cared for each person that cared for him. He was thankful every day for his life, even when it was painful, even when he knew there was very little left. He stated “I am a very lucky man- I lived my dream, to play with antiques and make a living at it, and to be a half decent Dad. Not many people can say that, and asking for more than that would just be greedy”. He is survived by his parenting co-conspirators E. Sue Barnes-Hall and Lester R. Hall, daughters, Estrellita Algood-Barnes, Jody (Rick) Flesner, Annie (Bobby) Barnes-Ramsey, and Beth Courier, nephews Rev. Patrick Barnes and Kevin Barnes, grandchildren Jonathan Lovegrove, Dietrich, Jasper, and Paxton Flesner, Monroe Myler and 1 great grandchild. Thomas will be welcomed home by his parents, brother, and his Airedales Lady and Tuffy. Cremation Rites have been accorded. A Memorial Mass will be held Wed. May 20, 2015 at 10:00 am at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 705 East Jefferson, Washington, IL 61571. Father Julius Turyatoranwa will officiate. Following the Mass, at 11:00 am there will be a luncheon at Denhart Baking Company , 101 Washington Square, Washington, IL 61571. All are welcome. The family would like to thank the staff of Cottage Hospital and River Crossing Rehab for their dedication and kindness. Also a special thank you to Kathy Kitchens for bringing her Airedales to visit. Thomas preferred Airedales to most other things in life. In celebration of this, donations can be made to Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption (ATRA) www.http://www.aire-rescue.com/ ATRA 1123 Vesper Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103