It was a blessing to have known and loved Andrea Marie Barnier. An exuberant young woman, she expelled warmth and care to everyone she came in contact with. With the grace of an angel and a smile that could light up a room, Andrea lived each day with a genuine, sweet spirit full of compassion and love. Although now gone from our sight, Andrea leaves a loving legacy that will remain in the hearts of those she leaves behind.
Andrea’s story began in a year filled with advancement and struggle. It was in 1985 that the infamous Titanic was located, and the Live Aid concert created a united front as the Aids virus was reaching epidemic proportions. Teddy Ruxpin and The Care Bears became the treasured favorite of children everywhere, and no one could have imagined the impact the first .com domain would have, or even how Microsoft’s release of Windows would effect the world. However, the news of the day didn’t compare to the joy in the lives of Mark and Michelle (Doxtater) Zahn as they welcomed the birth of their baby girl, Andrea Marie into their loving arms on May 3, 1985.
Born and raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Andrea was two years old when she welcomed little brother Kevin, whom she lovingly adored. Always close, Andrea was his protector, comforter and even served as his “baby talk” translator to the adults. Andrea had a blessed childhood filled with boundless love. A much anticipated first grandchild on her mother’s side, the day Andrea was born her Grampa snuck into the delivery room and held her before her daddy even did! Her Grampa Doxtater was always special to Andrea and she considered him her most favorite person. Everyone in the family fawned over Andrea, captivated by her beautiful brown eyes. Special from the start, Andrea was a patient baby and was cherished by all. It was a joy to watch as Andrea, the only girl cousin in the family, held her own over her over zealous male counterparts.
As a child Andrea loved to play school and her favorite student was always little Kevin. Almost inseparable at times, they loved to swim in the family pool and hot tub. With her imaginative ways, Andrea was into drama and loved performing little skits to her captivated audience, her loving family. Involved in dance as a child, she continued to do so throughout her life. Memorable family trips included excursions to Door County, Branson, Missouri, Orlando, Florida and Atlanta, Georgia just to mention a few. Andrea was proud of her Oneida Tribal heritage which descended from her mother.
In 1990 Andrea and her family moved to Janesville, Wisconsin where Andrea attended the local schools and made lifelong friendships along the way. As a young teen in 1999, Andrea was about to enter her freshman year of high school when her family relocated to Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Although at first it was a difficult transition, Andrea began attending Oak Creek High School where Mrs. Becker, one of her teachers and advisor, noticed something special in Andrea, and took her under her wing. She was a positive influence on Andrea, and as a result, her high school years became a very happy time for her. She ran on the cross country team, and was very involved in the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) program where she traveled the country attending events on her community awareness platform, Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU). Andrea also competed in pageants including the Junior Miss Pageant in Oak Creek.
Her first job was a paper route in Janesville before she moving to a job at Culvers Restaurant. With a heart of compassion and care, Andrea worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Meadowmere Assisted Living. She also held positions at the Olive Garden and her never ending love for clothes landed her a job with The GAP which prompted her father to build a second closet for her. During her high school years, Andrea became very involved at Oak Creek Assembly of God Church. She joined the youth group, and made many new friends. She gave it her all as a member of the drama group, and volunteered in many areas, especially working with the children. She discovered an inner strength that only magnified her already sweet, special spirit.
In 2003 Andrea graduated from Oak Creek High School where she was awarded for academic excellence. She went on to attend Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida where her brother attended, but only went for a semester before returning home to Wisconsin to the loving arms of her then fiancé and sweetheart, Joseph Barnier. They met at church and were both involved in drama and the youth group. Joe knew there was something special about Andrea, and in time they formed a loving bond. So much in love, the two were happily married on August 12, 2006 and spent a delightful honeymoon on Mackinaw Island where her grandparents had honeymooned 45 years earlier.
Andrea received her B.S. in Nursing in 2008 from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin while Joe graduated from the Milwaukee School of Engineering the same year. Tired of the midwest cold and snow, they moved to Cary, North Carolina where Andrea began working for Carolina Kids Pediatrics. A natural fit, she absolutely loved working with the children. They both loved the warm weather in North Carolina, being outdoors and enjoying the fresh air walking, biking and exploring the area with new friends. They made special trips together to Mt. Airy, Boone Park, Umstead Park and Wilmington Beach. Andrea enjoyed her involvement with the Raleigh First Assembly Church and found joy chaperoning and leading the girls group at church with her loving, mothering nature.
The holidays were a special time for Andrea. She loved holiday gatherings and enjoyed making homemade gifts her family cherished. With a knack for cooking and baking, she often hosted wonderful parties for family and friends alike. As a young girl she loved decorating her room, and especially liked decorating her home. She particularly loved anything with angels. In her free time, Andrea continued to run and enjoyed working out. Creating crafts and scrap booking with her mom was also a favorite pastime.
Andrea never had a bad word to say about anyone. She was a forever kind of friend whose caring brown eyes and angelic smile was a gift to behold. She certainly had the patience of an angel, and wanted nothing more than to please and bring joy to those in her company. Andrea truly lived the life of a faithful servant and devoted Christian woman whose faith was evident in all she said and did. Her thoughtful, gentle spirit was a breathe of fresh air as she recognized and appreciated the good in people.
Although her years were few, Andrea Marie Barnier has left a forever footprint on the hearts of many. She will never be forgotten and will be deeply missed. It was truly a blessing to have known and loved her.
At the age of 24, Andrea sadly died on Friday, April 9, 2010. She was the beloved wife of Joseph W. Barnier; cherished daughter of Mark and Michelle Zahn; loving sister of Kevin Zahn, and dear daughter-in-law of Bill and Patti Barnier. She is further survived by her grandparents, sister-in-law, aunts, uncles, many other relatives and countless friends. Friends may visit with Andrea’s family on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 at Oak Creek Assembly of God, 7311 S. 13th St., Oak Creek, Wisconsin from 4–6:45 PM. A memorial service to honor her life will be held following at 7:00 PM. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com to submit a favorite memory or photo of Andrea or to sign her online guest book. Arrangements by Suminski Family Funeral Homes, Niemann/Suminski (414)744-5156.