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Obituary: Alice Irwin Barnes

Friends Grad Leaves Legacy For Best Friends

Alice Irwin Barnes, who went to high school at Friends Academy in Locust Valley, passed away in November with her family at her side. She was 50.

A rare and aggressive carcinoid sarcoma was revealed during an unrelated surgery, and despite the best efforts of the excellent doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering, it was a short battle.

But the sorrow of Alice’s passing is tempered by the good she was able to do for those she left behind. “Alice was always taking care of other people, and never herself,” said her husband, George Barnes. “Even at the end, she was always very positive.”

He writes: Alice to the end continued to think about others more than herself.  She had us send direct donations to an organization called Home for Good Dog Rescue, where we’d adopted our dog, Cubby, this past May.

Shortly after Alice died, I got a call from a woman named Toni Ann Turco, founder and director at Home for Good Dog Rescue, who said she had received many phone calls from people who wanted to donate in Alice’s memory.  She was so grateful because they work on almost no budget, and this meant so much to them.

I told her about how Cubby had been Alice’s protector during her illness, and how he had cuddled with her on the couch when she was in pain, or sat by the couch and wouldn’t leave her side if she couldn’t have him on the couch.  I had assumed, and told her as much, that Cubby had come from a family in Georgia that must have treated him well and allowed him on the furniture because within a day of joining our family we found him sprawled out on the love seat in the family room sound asleep.

She told me it was just the opposite—that Cubby was about a day away from being euthanized when HFGDR arrived in Georgia and got him to a foster home.  At the time, he had virtually no fur on his lower torso, was malnourished, and had a horrible skin rash. He didn’t trust anyone (easily understood) and would cower in fear if anyone came near him.

Alice always felt that Cubby brought a breath of life into the house that was missing after we lost Becky, and felt there was a reason we found Cubby and brought him home.

Ella, Cait and I believe that the reason was to look after Alice while she was sick and bring her love and companionship when she was home alone and needed it more than ever.

Last night Toni Ann called to say that at Home For Good Dogs Rescue recent capital fundraising dinner, she told everyone Cubby’s story and how he helped Alice through her illness.  She said that by the time she was done, she was in tears, as was the rest of the room.

This past Monday, she got a phone call. A woman who had been at the event and her husband had decided to make a donation of $10,000 in Alice’s memory.  HFGDR is in the process of moving to a new office, and one of the rooms will be dedicated in Alice’s memory, along with a plaque bearing her name and Cubby’s, and the photo of our family (taken the day we adopted Cubby).

It was a shock to say the least, and as Ella put it, “it’s hard to believe that one stray dog from Georgia coming into our lives could change the world for Mom and for future dogs everywhere . . . he was a true blessing in disguise.”

At latest count, Alice’s request had brought in more than $13,000 for the organization’s dog rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

Born in Hempstead and raised in Levittown, Alice lost her own mother at the age of 10. After graduating from Friends Academy in 1981, she earned two bachelor’s degrees, one in political science and one in philosophy, from the University of Rochester. She and her family moved to Verona, NJ in 1990. She was an instructor for Gallagher Associates in Wayne, NJ, and previously worked at the Daily News Record of Fairchild Publications in Manhattan.  

She was the wife of George F. Barnes; mother of Ella and Caitlin, and the stepdaughter of Carol Irwin. She is also survived by her sister, Eileen Gill and her husband, Thomas; her brother, Christopher Irwin and his wife, Carol; her brother-in-law, Carl Barnes and his wife, Barbara Heffner, and her brother-in-law, Marc Alan; her godson, Brian Gill, and her nephews, Robert Barnes, Thomas Irwin, Gerard Irwin and Keith Ellwood.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Home for Good Dog Rescue, P.O. Box 324, Summit, N.J. 07902, www.homeforgooddogs.org—or any local dog shelter—would be appreciated.

News

This holiday season, Oyster Bay will once again be home to unique, homemade, scrumptious confections from The Chocolate Lady, in the form of a mobile chocolate boutique set up at Buckingham Variety Store on Audrey Avenue. She arrived on Sunday and plans on staying throughout the holidays, and possibly longer.

“I have been developing this concept for the last year and a half and am excited to be coming home to Oyster Bay for this year’s holiday launch,” says Lee Perrotta, aka The Chocolate Lady, who had her shop across the street from Buckingham’s for about five years before she was forced to shut her doors on Christmas Eve in 2012 due to excessive water damage at the rental space.

The Raise The Roof Concert, held at Christ Church on Nov. 9, was an intergenerational event to benefit the Life Enrichment Center of Oyster Bay’s seniors.

Board member Suzanne Paolucci explained the center’s wish to get iPods for the seniors as a source of musical therapy. She brought the idea to the center from a talk by social worker Dan Cohen, the founder of Music & Memory. He has produced a film, Alive Inside, that tells the story of music as being restorative. Music is like therapy for the elderly, in particular for those with dementia, as it has been shown to awaken memories of happier times in life, when energy and enthusiasm were boundless.


Sports

Long Island Lutheran High School senior Samantha Horton of Oyster Bay signed a National Letter of Intent to attend Siena College and compete on the Girls Division I Lacrosse Team in the goaltender position next year. Samantha will be receiving a full athletic scholarship. Horton is pictured with her family.

On the weekend of Nov. 8, the Oyster Bay High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams traveled to the State University of New York at Canton just a few miles from the Canadian border to compete in the New York State Cross Country Championships.

Alex Tosi became the first Bayman since Joe Jazwinski and Justin Nakrin (2008) to become All-State, placing 16th with a time of 16:53. Most runners ran about 20 seconds slower than their Bethpage times because of the muddy conditions on the course. Tosi’s time was basically equivalent to his best Bethpage time, as he powered through the toughest parts of the race. He led the Baymen to a seventh place finish in the Class C race, an improvement from their 11th place finish last year, which ties the highest place at the New York State Championships of a Baymen team since 2009.


Calendar

Annual Turkey Trot

Thursday, Nov. 27

Turkey Detox Workshop

Friday, Nov. 28

East Norwich Holiday

Sunday, Nov. 30



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com