We honor and celebrate the light and spirit of Don Barney. You are our friend and you are missed. This isn't good bye, it simply we'll see you again.
Donald Joseph Barney
Jan. 23, 1935 - June 26, 2019
Don was born in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., the oldest child of Louise and Foster Barney. At age 9, Don’s first job was handing out water-filled paper cups to Saratoga race track bettors, the tips enough to make standing and smiling for hours in the hot stands worthwhile.
After later attempts at soda jerking, Don left for Syracuse University, where he majored in journalism. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Naval Reserve and served for five years, in San Diego, Japan and Italy. He returned to New York in 1962, and he began his career in journalism at Business Week and other McGraw Hill publications, including a stint in London. His lifelong love of the theater grew in these cities.
Don and Helen moved to Washington, D.C., where they adopted son Michael and Don served as a press aide for Oregon’s Representative Al Ullman. Intrigued with the possibilities in that western state, in l972, he and his family migrated via VW camper to Portland, bought an Alameda house and they adopted daughter Megan. After serving as economic development director at the Port of Portland for several years, Don became a lobbyist in Salem.
In 1975, Don created Don Barney & Associates, a consulting firm to government entities and business organizations. Clark Worth joined him as a partner as the business grew.
During the next 20 years, his life was busy, rewarding. Don was president of the Portland City Club, member of Multnomah County Library Board, chair of the Library Foundation, served on the Northwest Children’s Theater board, and was elected president of Pearl Rotary. In a project dear to his heart, he became an actor in the Encore Senior Players, and later, the troupe’s director.
Upon retirement, he and second wife, Jo, visited Ireland, searched for ancestors, became reacquainted with Paris. They traveled in an RV to distant parts of the USA and Canada.
Their blended family celebrated holidays at their Pearl condo, and Don became a regular at the Lovejoy Bakery, the Ovation coffee shop, the Living Room Theatre and at the many offerings of the live theaters in the neighborhood. The screen, the stage and sweets continued to be Don’s joys.
A few weeks ago, Don, over a scoop of salted caramel ice cream, commented, “It’s been a life well-lived.” His family and friends agree.
Don is survived by Jo; stepsons, Peter Bahls (Jude) and Tom Bahls (Jean) and families; sister, Linda Benton (Lew) and family; brother, Bob Barney (Sherrie) and family; his son, Michael Barney; and daughter, Megan Spence and her son, Gavin Spence. We will all miss this congenial, thoughtful man.
We’ll celebrate his life on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, 2 p.m., in the Ecotrust building’s second-floor conference room, 1721 N.W. 9th Avenue. Instead of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Pearl Rotary Fund for its service efforts.