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

 

Visitation

January 27, 2017
Celebration of Life 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Rollstone Congregational Church 199 Main St. Fitchburg, MA 01420. Enter at rear- Cookman Hall.

Funeral

January 27, 2017
Rollstone Congregational Church 199 Main St. Fitchburg, MA 01420. Enter at rear- Cookman Hall.
  1. G Hanycz says:

    My deepest condolences on the passing of Charles(Chuck) Barney. From 77-80 we were roommates at NEC. Looking back he was truly my good friend that left a indelible impression of my collegiate career that has carried on to present day. He was indefatigable, articulate, smart and a great outdoorsman who shared the love of the outdoors with me! He introduced me to the radio scene and sponsored my disc jockey license. As a child growing up in a provincial and cloistered life, he opened the door to the great beautiful world outdoors; believing real education was by doing and experiences and that formalities of school were supplemental. He was the modern day Henry David Thoreau! Nearly 40 years have passed, my only regret I did not reconnect in life so I now do so in death! Rest In Peace does not apply to you Chuck;in the afterlife you will have regained your youth, and will compete in every and any competitive event. A fond farewell my friend, you were the cornerstone of my educational development and friendship that has survived all these years.

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  4. Yi Jun says:

    I think I speak for all of the Harvard Pistol Team when I say that Chuck was a great coach; I remember particularly how he would end every practice by thanking us for coming out to train that day, and most importantly, for training safely. He was a good man, and a good coach, and I’m very glad to have known him.

  5. Hal Cragin says:

    Chuck was a great friend, And his sublime humor was always a pleasure to be around.

  6. Laura (LaFleur), Michael, Meghan & Aaron Norcia says:

    Dear Barney/Lane Family,
    Words cannot express the deep sadness we feel for your loss of Chuck. I will always remember his bright smile and the fun cheering him on at hockey games with Janet!(My first ever hockey games!) We know you will always treasure his memory, and hold his gift of love close in your heart. With deepest sympathy to you all…
    Love, Laura (LaFleur), Michael, Meghan & Aaron Norcia

  7. Judy Fischbach says:

    Carolyn, so sorry for your loss.Thinking of you and your family at this difficult time. Positive thoughts and prayers are sent your way for the days ahead.
    Judy Fischbach

  8. Eleanor Blakeney says:

    I just found out, Carolyn. I am so sorry about your loss.
    I hope the passage of time and happier memories provide
    some comfort in this difficult time.
    My deepest condolences, Eleanor Blakeney

  9. Mary Steedly says:

    Dear Carolyn,

    I was so sorry to learn of Chuck’s passing. Even though I never met him, I recall vividly how hard you worked to see that he had the best of care despite a very difficult medical situation. I do hope there are consolations in family and friends, and in loving memories. My prayers are with you.

    With sympathy,

    Mary Steedly

  10. Judy Wickliffe says:

    Carolyn,

    So very sorry for your loss. We will be keeping you in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

    -Judy & Bob Wickliffe

  11. Donna Hreniuk says:

    Dear Carolyn,

    So very sorry for your loss. Your husband sounded like a wonderful person. Your are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Donna

  12. Tom Moon says:

    Chuck has been the supreme example of a living hero for all of us in the hockey world. He ploughed through all health adversities to excel as a marathon biker, a champion communicator and a man of perseptive kindness. He is on my All-Star Team as a great human being!

    We, as teammates and coaches knew him as a vibrant, big, intelligent, and strong defenseman protecting the integrity of himself and other players playing in a pre-pro league where courage became a learned benefit for application there and in our daily lives. “Chuckie” became the historian, the dependable record keeper, the communicator and advisor for every alumni fund-raiser. He always brought with guaranteed smiles interesting stories of his evolving interests in shooting, marriage, and hockey’s administrations for Leo’s teams.

    Well of course Chuck, your “graduation” to a new paradise was as heroic as your magnificent life. Au revoir, my friend. Coach Mooner.

  13. Vince Ylitalo says:

    Hello Carolyn,

    Sorry I did not know your husband, he sounds like a wonderful and loving husband! He is in my thoughts and prayers. Vince

  14. Beth Logan says:

    Hi Carolyn,
    I am sorry to hear this news. I suspect that Chuck is at the Rainbow bridge with Earl and all the other dogs you positively influenced. And it sounds like he’s might be playing hockey again.
    My sympathy.
    Beth Logan & Ginger

  15. Patty Sontag says:

    Carolyn,

    I am very sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. He sounds like he was an extraordinary athlete, coach, son, brother and most of all, a husband who loved you dearly. You have my deepest condolences during this difficult time and in the days that follow. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

    Patty Sontag

  16. Debbie Kiernan says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Carolyn, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  17. KJ & Hope says:

    Sorry Carlyon, for your loss. Need anything done don’t hesitate to give me a text message.

  18. Harriet Rodman says:

    Carolyn……….
    I am at a loss for words.
    You have been such a huge part of my life and heart for so many years. I did not know Chuck well.. but the times we did talk, I felt such a sense of warmth and caring. I am so so devastated by your loss.
    I wish I could just give you a big hug……and make all your tears, losses and sadness go away.
    Please call if I can do anything.
    Loads of love and hugs.
    ~ Har ~

  19. Judy Jacques says:

    Carolyn – so sad and sorry for your loss. Your devotion to him and desire for the best care for him is an inspiration.
    Many thoughts and prayers for you. Judy

  20. Marjie Alonso says:

    Carolyn, I’m so sorry and so sad to read this.

    Love and peace to you and all the critters.

    Marjie

  21. ANGELENA & ANNA says:

    Carolyn and family,

    Words cannot describe how sorry I am for your loss!! If there is anything we can do please do not hesitate to ask.

    “Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”

    ―Ernest Hemingway

  22. Becky Bronson says:

    So sorry Carolyn. You did so much and I know how hard the past few years have been. Sending you lots of love…

    Becky

  23. Maria Seifer says:

    Carolyn,
    So sorry for your loss.Thinking of you!
    Maria

  24. Carol Carlo says:

    So sorry for your loss Carolyn. My sympathy to you and Chuck’so family.

  25. Bridget Desroches says:

    Carolyn,
    I am so so sorry for your loss. You and Chuck were so blessed to find each other.
    Fondly thinking of you in this difficult time.
    Bridget

  26. Jean McCord says:

    What a dreadful loss to family and community. All who loved Chuck have my deepest sympathy.

  27. Elaine Coupe says:

    Stay strong, Carolyn – as you always do. Thinking of you, my friend.
    Love,
    Elaine

  28. Michelle Allen says:

    Your Gemini Dogs family is thinking of you, and we send loving strength and puppy kisses…I am so very sorry…I really wish that I could be there to just sit with you and reminisce. I’m back in MA next Tuesday evening, but in the meantime, ANYTHING at all that we can do, just have Dana let me know, and Penny or Danielle will be there for you! I know you have ample friends in the doggie world, but you know that your dogs are always welcome “back home” at Gemini for the day/night if you need any care for them; we’re here 24/7.

    Chuck was always such a pleasure to be around, and reading his obituary just made me wish I had known him better. Amazing, amazing!

  29. Bonnie Bartlett says:

    Thinking of you, CB.
    Love, Bonnie

  30. Mary Jo Lavin says:

    Peace an strength to all Chuck’s family.
    With love

  31. Sharon says:

    Carolyn— We are all so heartbroken for you, and wanted you to know we are thinking of you at this very sad time. Sending much love your way. With sympathy—-Sharon Doolittle DVM (and staff)

  32. Candi & Stan Fowler says:

    Aunt Carolyn,
    Sending you our love and strength to see you through this tough time….we know you and Chuck had many wonderful years together and we were so happy to have him as part of our family. He will be deeply missed by all of us!
    Love Cand & Stan

  33. Monk says:

    Rest In Peace my friend, was a privilege knowing you.

    – Bruce and the CTP cadre

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