On February 7, 2020, Richard S. Barth, age 81, of Beverly, succumbed to complications from pneumonia and peacefully entered into rest surrounded by his loving family.
Richard was born in Haverhill, and spent most of his youth in Newburyport, Lynn, and Portland, Maine. He earned his bachelor’s degree in statistics at Boston University. Richard was a gentle, caring individual with a mischievous personality who could catch you off guard with his witty sense of humor.
A natural with numbers and logic, he worked for the U.S. Census Bureau before becoming one of the first computer programmers. After 27 years with American Mutual Insurance Company, he took a role with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts spearheading a project for the DOT which catapulted the driver’s license into the modern age by introducing digital imaging, holograms, and satellite kiosks throughout the state.
As successful as he was in his career, Richard was first and foremost a husband and father. He was devoted to his wife Sheila, to whom he was married for 56 years, and supported her as her career simultaneously flourished – no small feat with four children. He actively accompanied her to nearly 150 theater performances per year, contributing to and editing her newspaper reviews. In addition, they fervently watched and supported their grandchildren, who starred in theater and dance performances. He made sure to spend focused time with each child, sharing his many passions, but also embracing theirs.
An avid sports fan, Richard followed Boston professional sports faithfully – with a particular affinity for football and baseball. He loved to attend Red Sox games, especially taking his children to Fenway Park one-on-one. During those games, he taught each child how to properly and meticulously score every at-bat. He readily volunteered to do the statistics for his children’s sports teams. He also loyally followed Newburyport High School football – a very special tradition he maintained with his father and children. His love of sports reached a pinnacle when his grandchildren began to play soccer, softball, basketball, football, baseball, rugby, field hockey, and track and field. He took such pride and great joy watching and discussing every last play or element with each grandchild.
Music was also an important part of Richard’s life. He loved to entertain by playing piano and melodica. He took great pride in watching the tradition continue with his children and grandchildren as they pursued music in their own individual ways.
Another favorite personal hobby was detailed trip-planning. Long before the days of personal GPS navigators and Waze, he meticulously mapped out vacation itineraries and routes to the specific minute and mile, the old-school way for family and friends.
Richard enjoyed gardening. He grew vibrantly colored flowers, including super-sized prize-winning dahlias. His claim-to-fame was his cherry tomato plants, which grew higher than the roofline. Each year, he tracked his extraordinary tomato yield, always trying to outdo his prior year’s performance. Richard loved sharing them with family and friends.
Richard and his wife Sheila were the true pillars of the family. Their love for each other was unending, unconditional, and unwavering. Throughout their 56 years of marriage, they shared an unparalleled love, respect, and admiration for one another. They were each other’s strength. In life and in death, they remained completely connected. Their beautiful love story finished this chapter with the comfort that they will never grieve each other, but instead enter their next chapter together.
Richard was loved by so many people. He was the devoted husband of Sheila F. (Lerman) Barth, who predeceased him by five days; the proud father of Lisa Wolowacki and her husband Bill, Elana Turchon and her husband Dennis, Gary Barth and his wife Michelle, and Sara Kelley and her husband Peter; adored Papa of Cameron and Jacob Wolowacki, Gisele Turchon, Jacquie and Jamie Barth, and Eli and Anja Kelley; cherished son of the late David and Jennie Barth; and the cherished uncle, cousin, and friend of an infinite number of people his life touched significantly.
A funeral service was held on February 9 at Temple B’Nai Abraham, Beverly. Interment followed the service at Newburyport Hebrew Cemetery, 10 Toll Road, Salisbury.
In accordance with the traditions of the Jewish faith, and given his passion for teaching and nurturing, we ask that you please not send flowers. Instead, you may make a donation to an education-based charity in Richard’s name.
In addition, to honor his memory, we ask that everyone please conduct one intentional selfless act of kindness.
For more information or to register in the online guestbook, visit stanetskyhymansonsalem.com.