Martin R. “Marty” Barnes, Jr., passed away peacefully at his Skokie home on Saturday, May 19, 2018, after a decade-long experience with Parkinson’s Disease. It wasn’t a battle as such, with his disease. It wasn’t something that he felt like he had to fight to the bitter end. Marty embraced his Parkinson’s Disease and showed us all how to live a beautiful life with a broken body, not only thriving but thoroughly enjoying his life. What made this so poignant and ironic was the fact that before the first symptoms afflicted his outer body, he was a tremendous athlete and a physical and spiritual force that filled any room that he entered. Of course without the constant and gentle “care giving” afforded to him by his wife of 61 years, Patricia, he would not have been able to fully enjoy his final years on this earth.
Marty received many accolades during the course of his glorious life. Although never much for being the “Fixer” around the house, (the hammer found his thumb far more often than the nail), he was a gifted athlete. Being the highest scorer in the league as a basketball player for Quigley North Preparatory Seminary High School in Chicago led to his basketball career at Fort Eustis Army base in Newport News, Virginia. There, he played basketball to entertain the troops during the Korean War. Several professional NBA basketball players were on the roster with Marty. His love of basketball led him to coach scores of kids at St. Margaret Mary Parish school on the north side of Chicago.
While serving as Vice President at Clipper Express Trucking Company he was recognized as Salesman of the Year multiple times in his career. In keeping with his distaste of braggadocio, he kept all of his plaques and awards in an old, beat up cardboard box in the basement.
He also served as Head Lector at both St. Margaret Mary and St. Joan of Arc Catholic parishes in the Chicagoland area. This service kept him close to God as Marty was a devout Catholic. Being on the Board of Directors at the High Ridge YMCA afforded him more opportunities to positively impact the kids in our neighborhood.
Marty was always in a good mood, uplifting anyone lucky enough to have come in contact with him. Being an extrovert, Marty never met a stranger and he endeared himself to anyone who ever met him.
None of these aforementioned accomplishments were as important to him as being a great father, husband and friend. He lived for people…his family and friends. The accolades were just window dressing…things far less important than visiting Uncle Frank in the hospital or coaching his children and neighborhood kids in sports…or the infinite number of times he lived his life for others.
Marty passed away peacefully at his home in Skokie surrounded by his adoring family. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house…tears of joy and happiness for a life well lived. And in the end, he lived long enough to see the Cubbies win the World Series after a short interlude of 108 years. He’s got a smile on his face for that feat.
He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Patricia, nee Fischer, of whom he said that he had to rush her to the altar because she was “out of his league”; son, Dr. Daniel (Stacey), a Pediatric Dentist from Port Orange, Florida, son, Brian, an engineer, in Naperville, IL and daughter, Janet (John) McPartlan, a cancer survivor, of Chicago; grandchildren, Mikala Barnes, an Emergency Room Nurse in Port Orange, FL, Matthew “Matty” Barnes, an entrepreneur living on Portland, OR, and John “Johnny” McPartlan, of Chicago, his grandfather’s caregiver; and sister, Virginia Walsh. Marty was preceded in death by his sister, Loretta Navarro, and brother, Richard Barnes.
A Memorial Mass will be celebrated Wednesday, May 23, 2018, at 10:30 a.m., at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 9248 Lawndale Ave., Evanston / Skokie.
Funeral info: 847.673.6111.