Obituary for Nancy Barnes
Annapolis, Maryland - Nancy Wahl Barnes, 80, passed away on Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at Sunrise Assisted Living in Annapolis after a two-year struggle with Lewy Bodies.
Nancy was born on September 30, 1936, in Evanston, Illinois, the youngest of Orlin Ingersoll and Hazel “Sue” (Raymond) Wahl’s three children. She grew up in Evanston and graduated from Evanston Township High School. She then attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she joined the Alpha Phi sorority and met future husband, Joel Francis Barnes. She knew he was “the one” because he was the funniest and most charming man in the variety shows his fraternity routinely performed for her sorority. After a brief time living a bohemian lifestyle in Southern California, Nancy finished her degree in Early Childhood Education at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She married Joel on December 19, 1959, in Evanston, and prepared for life as an accountant’s wife, but that was not to be. Instead, she left her job as a Kindergarten teacher - where she developed her famous “Galloping Song” for her young students - and joined her new husband as he changed course to pursue his passion for becoming a Navy Officer on the nuclear submarines in New London, Connecticut. It was there that her first two children were born, Theresa (Terri) Lee Barnes and Matthew (Matt) Orlin Barnes. The family then transferred to Virginia Beach, where their third child, Katherine (Katie) Jean, was born. Sadly, Katie passed away at just three months old, a victim of “crib death.” Soon thereafter, with her husband deployed to Vietnam for a year, and inspired by her love for the Spanish language, and a fearless taste for adventure, Nancy packed up her two young children, her 17-year-old nephew, Mark Alan Goetzke, and the family’s black lab, Puppy, into the family station wagon and set off for a year in Mexico. Once there, they settled into the small mountain village of Ajijic, where Nancy enjoyed horseback riding in the mountains (on her favorite horse Renado), socializing with the local art community, throwing pinata parties for the local kids, watching for bats at dusk on the mirador (rooftop patio) of her house, and discovering her love for Airedales, after adopting the newest member of the family, Howard. The family then reassembled in Virginia Beach and welcomed a fourth child, Margaret (Peggy/Marghi) Catherine Barnes. With Joel transferred to the Washington Navy Yard, the family then moved to Edgewater, Maryland, where Nancy was a full-time mom to her kids and, having grown up in apartments, enjoyed the big, artsy home she’d always wanted (and Joel got his pier for a sailboat). The former city girl then fulfilled another dream and bought herself a pony named Shanny, and installed him in the backyard, much to Joel's, and a few neighbors’, dismay, although Nancy was delighted to spy Joel sneaking carrots out to Shanny one night. Nancy had a natural affinity for and love of music. She could harmonize to any song on the spot and enjoyed singing with Joel as he played banjo in the kitchen or on their sailboat, the “Katie B.” With her kids growing up, she began working as a writer and ad salesperson for local Annapolis publications, and volunteered at The Christian Science Reading Room, forming strong bonds with many members of the church. Known for her warmth, welcoming heart, and “glass half full” outlook on life, she opened her home to kids, family, friends, midshipmen, and those in need, including Judy Burnett (Jarboe), who subsequently became her “fourth daughter.” Nancy had a passion for art and collected works of family friends. She liked to say, with a twinkle in her eye, that it was more important to have beautiful art on the walls than dinner on the table. Nancy went on to enjoy many happy years working at Middleton Art Gallery in Annapolis, where she developed a devoted clientele, drawn to her integrity and warmth, and developed a lifelong friendship with the owner, Carolyn Middleton and her husband, Doug. She loved her family, and spent as much time with them as possible, taking them on nature walks to collect bittersweet, or outside at midnight to look at the stars, or proudly telling tales of her father sailing a wooden raft down the Mississippi River, just like Huckleberry Finn. She was often found thumbing through bird and plant guide books to identify a new sighting, polishing her latest poem, or listening to the birds on her beloved screened-in porch. She enjoyed attending concerts and plays, visiting museums and art galleries, and pottery - keeping a potter’s wheel in her bedroom for years.
She is predeceased by her husband Joel, daughter Katie, sister Jean Wahl Goetzke, brother Orlin Wahl, brother in law Donald Goetzke, and sister in law Suzanne Barnes Gion.
She is survived by her three children, Terri, Matthew and Peggy/Marghi, grandchildren Stephan, Orlin, Holly and Sajan, brother in law, Michael Barnes, sister in law Katherine Barnes McLaughlin, and many nieces and nephews.
Friends are invited to celebrate Nancy's life at the George P. Kalas Funeral Home, 2973 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater, MD on Wednesday, June 28 from 12 pm until her memorial service begins at 1 pm. Immediately following the memorial service at the funeral home,a Celebration of Life will be held at Quiet Waters Park Blue Heron Center in Annapolis.In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Gentle Barn, 15825 Sierra Hwy., Santa Clarita, CA 91390 or the Dr. Ernie Bond Classroom Library Award, c/o The Salisbury University Foundation, P.O. Box 2655, Salisbury, MD 21801.Condolences and tributes may be made by accessing the link in the left column of this page.