It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce the unexpected passing of our beloved father, John “Par” Barrett on June 22, 2021. God Rest His Soul.
John was born on Sept. 29, 1936 in Holyoke to the late Myles & Bridget Barrett. A star athlete in high school, he graduated from St. Jerome’s High School in 1956. His great love of golf and his exceptional talent on the greens earned him the legendary “Par” name so many know him by. After high school, Par spent a brief time on the amateur golf circuit. He was inducted into the Holyoke Catholic High School Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame in June 2011 in 3 sports divisions: basketball, golf & baseball. A true triple threat! A lifelong sports fan, he volunteered as golf coach for both the boys & girls teams at Holyoke Catholic High School in the 1990’s. He was passionate about coaching young athletes.
In 1959, he was drafted into the US Army and proudly served his country until honorably discharged in 1962. During his tour of duty in Germany, he met Elvis Presley and loved to share his story of “The King.” Upon his return to Holyoke, he married his high school sweetheart, Anita Ruel (Rosary High ‘55) in October 1962. He became a long-standing member of Holyoke Country Club where he won 3 club championships with his partner, Gardner Thompson. He later became a member of Wycoff Country Club.
A life-long resident of Holyoke, Par fiercely loved and served his hometown. His long list of accomplishments is a testament to a man who helped so many people. He served on the Holyoke School Committee from 1972-75. He then served on the City Council from 1976-1981. Finally, from 1979 until the day he passed, he served as a commissioner then chairman of the Holyoke Water Board. Par Barrett spent 49 years fighting for the city he loved and its residents.
A true Irishman, John fulfilled a personal dream when he partnered with Bobby Glidden (1938 - 2010) to open a sports bar/local pub in 1974. The Locker Room in Holyoke was a place for all to gather, watch sports events, listen to live Celtic music & raise a glass in celebration of life. Par hosted many events for the Hampden County Sheriff Dept. at the Locker Room and was thrilled to receive an honorary Sheriff badge, which some of you may have seen!
John is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Anita (Ruel) Barrett; his 3 children: Karen Barrett (Holyoke), John Barrett & his wife Tracey (Madison, CT), and Robert Barrett & his wife Cindy (Holyoke). He leaves behind 4 cherished grandchildren: Katharine, Amanda, Megan and Jack. John was predeceased by his parents, his brother Myles, and his sister Mary B. Zimmerman.
A devout Catholic, John had a strong devotion to his church, Our Lady of The Cross. He found solace and joy in serving his parish. A wonderful father, an amazing grandfather, he treasured family and God above all else. He gave of himself until his final day. Par had a lion heart, a fighter’s spirit & an irresistible charm. He will be deeply missed by all. We believe that Heaven just got a bit louder with Par up there, letting everyone know exactly what he thinks!
The funeral will be held on Tuesday, June 29th at 11 am from Barry J. Farrell Funeral Home, 2049 Northampton Street, followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 11:30 am at Our Lady of the Cross Parish Church, Holy Cross Avenue. Burial will follow at Forestdale Cemetery West, Rock Valley Road. Calling hours will be held prior to the funeral from 9 to 11 am.
In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that memorial contributions be made in John’s name to Our Lady of the Cross, 15 Maple St. Holyoke, MA 01040.
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