Charles Henderson “Chuck” Barney of Groton, MA
Charles H. (“Chuck”) Barney, 59, of Groton, MA died Saturday Jan. 14. 2017 at his home surrounded by his loving family and friends. He and his wife Carolyn (Fowler) Barney celebrated their 22nd wedding anniversary on September 17th.
Born in Frankfurt, Germany on December 13, 1957, Chuck was the son of Carolyn (Henderson) Barney of Canaan, NH and the late Charles David (“Dave”) Barney. Soon three siblings followed – sisters Janet and Mary Lou, and brother Doug. As the son of an Army officer, Chuck moved 14 times before his 18th birthday. These frequent moves led to very strong bonds among the Barney family, with Chuck playing the role of the protective older brother but also ringleader for fun and games.
The one constant for Chuck among all these moves was ice hockey. Chuck learned to skate and how to play hockey from his father. While his graceful skating and defensive abilities made him seem like a “natural,” he was as good as he was because he practiced constantly. By the early age of 15, Chuck was selected to the Wallace Wallopers Junior A hockey team.
After graduating from Notre Dame High School in Fitchburg in 1975, he earned his BA degree in Economics from New England College in Henniker, NH in 1980. While he stopped playing competitive hockey after his freshman year in order to focus on his studies, the sport remained a passion of his. To keep active, he switched to bicycling, skiing, hiking, golf and competitive firearm shooting.
Chuck was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 25. His diabetes was very difficult to manage due to its brittle nature, his fast metabolism and his desire to continue his athletic pursuits. In order to complete the double-century bike races and long cross-country skiing trips, he developed a complex computer model to balance his insulin, food intake and exercise. This model was named as a finalist for the Smithsonian Award.
After a career as a radio disc jockey and news journalist, Chuck shifted to positions as a research analyst and business strategist for start-ups. Eventually, the side effects of his diabetes made working in a traditional job difficult.
As a lifelong athlete, Chuck appreciated the role of coaches in his development as both a hockey player and as a man, and so followed his true calling as a coach himself. He applied this holistic coaching approach to his coaching roles at Lawrence Academy at Groton, the Town of Groton and the PAT Hockey Leagues for many years. He also was an assistant coach for the Tyngsboro Huskies Junior A Hockey team. When Chuck could no longer skate, he found new ways to continue having a profound impact on the development of kids and teens by coaching other sports, most recently competitive pistol shooting for the Harvard University Club team.
At every turn, when diabetes seemed to present a barrier, Chuck found a way around that barrier or found new activities. He kept persevering to the end. He inspired all of us by his positive spirit despite what life threw at him.
Chuck loved hiking in the woods, preferably with a dog by his side. In his mid-30’s, he adopted a rambunctious dog that he named Earl. Earl was lovable, but definitely needed training. Chuck’s mother found a dog trainer named Carolyn Fowler who soon had Earl sitting and Chuck staying. Chuck took to Carolyn first as a friend and then as a wife. At their wedding alongside Lake Richardson in Maine, Earl served as a ringbearer.
Chuck and Carolyn enjoyed 22 years of marriage together. They enjoyed hiking, listening to music and sharing good food. And, of course, dogs. Chuck was enormously proud of Carolyn’s work in training rescue dogs to be service dogs for veterans as part of Delta Dogs. Chuck loved Carolyn to pieces, and spent a good portion of his recent time in the hospital telling people how he met Carolyn, recounting his wedding and praising her loving strength.
Chuck had a sweet smile, a caring soul and an infectious laugh. He assumed the role of the “man of the family” as a young boy for his father’s two overseas tours of duty, and has always served as a sounding board and great friend for his brother and sisters. For his six nieces and nephews, he treated each one as an individual person of value. He was so interested in what they had to say and what they were doing.
As Chuck’s diabetes impacted his overall health, Carolyn worked tirelessly to ensure he had the best care. She also ensured that he had his triple espressos. A short time ago, he was diagnosed with widespread cancer. The cancer coupled with the weakening from the diabetes led to his passing.
Besides his wife and mother, he is survived by his sister Janet Lane and her husband, Rick of Lancaster, MA and their children Matt Lane and Amy Belli; brother Doug Barney and his wife, Luanne Kiley of South Yarmouth, MA with his children Lauren Wenners, and David, Nick and Kiley Barney; sister Mary Lou Barney of Littleton, MA; and dogs Breezy, Kodi and Steiff. FUNERAL NOTICE (1 DAYS ) BARNEY- Charles H. Barney, 59, died Jan. 14, 2017 in Groton, MA. A Celebration of His Life will be on Friday January 27, 2017 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Rollstone Congregational Church 199 Main St. Fitchburg, MA 01420. Enter at rear- Cookman Hall. For those that wish contributions in his memory may be made to the American Cancer Society 30 Speen St. Framingham, MA or to the American Diabetes Association P.O. Box 417005 Boston, MA 02241. Arrangements by the DOLAN FUNERAL HOME 106 MIDDLESEX ST. CHELMSFORD, MA 978-251-4041. Guestbook at www.dolanfuneralhome.com