Harry Charles “Chuck” Barbier Jr, age 84, passed away Thursday, January 27, 2022, after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis.
Chuck was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 12, 1937 to Harry Charles Barbier and Verna Welch Barbier. Chuck’s father was a welder (and a boxer) so the family travelled throughout Louisiana and Texas for several years. When Chuck was seven years old the family moved to Whitehall. Chuck graduated from Whitehall High School in 1955. He enlisted in the US Army right out of high school and spent two years, partly in Germany, where he discovered his love for travelling and downhill skiing. When he returned from the military, he tried his hand at a sailing school and then worked as a cowboy at Jack and Jill Dude Ranch in Rothbury where he was known as “Chet”. He settled into a career at the Muskegon Chronicle for a short time before taking a year-long sabbatical to travel around the United States and eventually to Australia and New Zealand. When he returned to Muskegon, he resumed working at the Muskegon Chronicle as a display advertising counselor. A beautiful young lady had started working at the Chronicle while he was gone and it wasn’t long before he won her heart and married Barbara Jean Merle on February 6, 1965. Chuck spent 40 years at the Chronicle where his accounts knew him as a dependable friend, a hard-working associate, and a true professional.
Growing up, Brigitte, Brett, Belinda, and Brice enjoyed visiting their Dad on the second floor of the Chronicle and picking him up to go out for picnic lunches. He supported them in a wide range of academic and athletic pursuits including football, soccer, wrestling, volleyball, tennis, band, 4-H and scouting. The family camped, fished, hiked, and took family vacations around the United States. Some of the vacations were in a station wagon with no air conditioning. Travels took them to Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, South Dakota and many other Midwest locations.
As he would tell it, he was an avid runner enjoying 5k, 10k and 15 k races around West Michigan. He was a race director for the Chronicle Seaway Run in the 80’s and enjoyed his “Y” lunchtime running group.
Chuck also enjoyed a number of other passions over the years which he passed on to his children. His love of horses included being a Captain in the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Posse for several years. He passed on that love of horses to Brigitte who competes with her horses in barrel racing. His love of hunting, camping, and fishing, he passed on to Brett and Brice. His love of travelling, skiing, and hiking, he passed on to Belinda. He passed on his love of jazz to his grandson Devin. In his last years, he enjoyed teaching his grandsons (Travis, Devin, and Zachary) how to play blackjack.
He took an early retirement from the Chronicle to be able to enjoy life and he did. He and Barb greatly enjoyed traveling in their RV and visiting their children in Texas and Colorado. They also travelled internationally to Europe and Mexico and were trip guides to youth groups in Washington D.C. and New York City. Chuck was active well into his 70’s and was very proud of the fact that he re-roofed his own barn at the age of 75.
There is a big hole left in many lives that he touched but also many great memories. No one could have asked for a steadier and more supportive husband and father in giving his children and wife a wonderful life.
Chuck is survived by his wife Barbara of almost 57 years, his four children, Brigitte (Bill Coffell) of Gustine Texas; Brett (Pam) of Muskegon and their children, Jessica (Jeremy) Thomas and great grandchild Madelyn, and Lauren (Michael) Joyce and great grandchildren Brady and Leo; Belinda and grandson Devin of Muskegon; Brice (Rebecca) and grandsons Travis and Zachary of Houston, Texas.
The funeral will be Saturday, February 5, 2022, at 11 am at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church followed by a reception. Interment in Fruitland Township Cemetery.
Visitation will be at Clock’s Funeral Home on Friday, February 4, 2022, from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm. MEMORIAL: Please visit www.clockfuneralhome.com to leave a memory or sign the online guestbook.
Clock Funeral Home – Muskegon
Published by Clock Funeral Home – Muskegon on Jan. 29, 2022.