Charles David “Dave” Barney
Canaan, N.H. — Charles David “Dave” Barney, 80, left us peacefully early Tuesday morning, Feb. 11, 2014, at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, surrounded by Carolyn, his loving wife of nearly 58 years; his four children; many grandchildren; a son-in-law; and a soon to be grandson-in-law. No one was willing to leave Dave’s hospital room as they all knew they would miss him terribly when he was gone. Each had a chance to speak privately with the family patriarch, and when asked, each had nearly the same story of what they said. Whether it was a child or grandchild revealing their feelings, Dave got to hear the example he set as a man of honesty, fairness, wisdom, strength, courage, humor and, above all, love. “Grandpa, you taught me to be a good person, to be strong, honest, and to have the ambition to do something good and satisfying with my life. You are the best grandfather ever. I wish I could be more like you, and I will never stop trying,” is what grandkid after grandkid seemed to say. “Dad, you were such a fair, encouraging supporting parent, taking me wherever my games or interests took me. You have finished your job as a parent now that your kids and grandkids are all well on their way, using the gifts you have given them,” his four children made sure he heard.
Dave was born to two wonderful parents, his father, Charles, who left the earth too early at 53 and who worked as a janitor and in paint factories, all the while providing a beautiful, loving and encouraging home. Dave’s mother, Ella, raised her three kids and got them all off to college. Strong and kind, Ella taught her son lessons he passed on to his kids. “Since she had put herself through night school to get her High School diploma, you had to have your priorities straight,” Dave explained. A Bachelor’s and three Master’s Degrees later, Dave had clearly taken that lesson to heart.
Dave and Carolyn both grew up in Stoneham, Mass. First great friends, then High School sweethearts, Carolyn cheered on as Dave was a star hockey player and captain of the football team. In college they decided to go their separate ways and if they didn’t meet anyone they liked as much, they should get back together. It was the assertive Carolyn who called up Dave when he was home on leave from the Army. Soon to be deployed as an Army officer in Germany, they quickly married and moved there together. This was the birthplace of their first son Chuck. Moving 21 times in 18 years, Janet was born in Kentucky, Doug in Massachusetts and Mary Lou in Pennsylvania. While Carolyn had a full-time job as a mother, Dave always encouraged her to explore her interests, whether social work, important causes, public relations, and later in retirement, working to help those in need in the Canaan area. And what a wife he had.
Dave was a career Army officer, served two tours of duty in Vietnam and Thailand, and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel. During his 20 year career, he was a tank platoon leader, reconnaissance platoon leader, company executive officer, division military intelligence detachment commander, counterintelligence field office commander (Special Agent in Charge), advisor to Thai Armed Forces, and a member of the Army General Staff. While serving, Dave was awarded the Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Service Stars and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
While his heart was in education, and Dave had a Master’s Degree in Education, Dave worked for defense contractors in the latter part of his career because it was the best way he could put his four kids through college, sacrificing his own interests for those of his children.
A lifelong hockey player, Dave was president and a founding member of the Fitchburg Youth Hockey Association. When players couldn’t afford ice time or equipment, Dave helped raise money to pay for it, and often shuttled these same players to games and practice, no matter if it was 4 o’clock in the morning. Dave always played fair, and when he coached, ice time was given evenly. As a result, sometimes the worst player at the beginning of the season was the best by the end. He never demanded respect, but instead earned it, and in the process gained the nickname “The Colonel.” And players always came first. In the 1970’s, the Boston Bruins had their training camp at the same rink in Fitchburg where Dave’s players practiced. One day a Bruin player was taking too long gathering up all the other Bruin’s extra sticks and getting off the ice, only to be firmly reprimanded by the Colonel. That player, Bobby Orr, listened carefully, apologized, and scurried off the ice. Even Orr listened to the Colonel.
Later in life, his mother Ella moved full time to Goose Pond, a place Dave decided early on would be his home, and where he lived with Carolyn for over 20 terrific years on a hill overlooking Goose Pond’s Little Island. Dave and Carolyn made sure their house had plenty of room for grandkids and plenty of boats for them to play with. While Dave loved fishing and boating, he found real meaning in service to others, an undertaking his wife eagerly shared. Dave’s accomplishments are many, and none were as important to him as the family and extended family he was responsible for.
In Canaan, Dave served on the Goose Pond Lake Association, budget committee and the school committee, and always worked to improve the lives of those he served. He was a proud member of the Canaan American Legion Weld-Webster Post 55 and their Boys State and Girls State programs. He was a member of the scholarship committees for both the Legion and the Lions Club.
Dave will miss his beloved Goose Pond. Whether you called him dad, grandpa, husband, brother or friend, we all have a hole in our heart where Dave used to live. Dave was quiet, serious, and funny.
Dave is survived by his wife, Carolyn; four children, Chuck and his wife, Carolyn, of Groton, Mass., Janet Lane and her husband, Rick, of Lancaster, Mass., Doug and wife, Luanne Kiley, of Lunenburg, Mass., and Mary Lou Barney of Waltham, Mass.; six grandchildren, Matt Lane, Amy Lane, Lauren Barney, David Barney, Nick Barney, and Kiley Barney; sister June Dixon and her husband, Jim, brother, Ed and his wife Kathy Hayes; numerous nieces and nephews; and sister-in-law Mary Perra and her husband Sal.
The calling hours are 5 p.m to 7:30 p.m., Friday, at Ricker Funeral Home, 433 U.S. Highway 4, Enfield, NH 03748, Phone: (603) 632-7639. The service will be at 1 p.m. on Saturday, at Canaan Elementary School, 178 Main Street., Canaan NH 04924. The location of the service is a celebration of Dave’s deep interest and involvement in education.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Dave Barney Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Mascoma Valley Regional High School, 27 Royal Road, Canaan, NH 03741
A message of condolence can be shared with the family through an online guest book by visiting www.rickerfuneralhome.com