Andrea Marie Barnier

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Andrea Marie

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 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.

Past Comments

Sarah Pobiecke

Well. I learned a lot about Andrea on this website. So many people remember her happy face- one thing her cousin Kristen and I remembered together over the phone the night after Andrea left us. Also people mentioned her love of clothes and dancing. That’s funny because one of my earliest memories of Andrea- which is pretty vague- was when they still lived in Kenosha- I think they had just remodeled the upstairs- I was running after Andrea- I think I thought I was babysitting her- and she kept changing her clothes. She must have just been a toddler. She would put an outfit on and prance around in it for a while, and then she wanted to put on something else. My last memory of Andrea is at Christmas- Her dad and my uncle Paul sang a million songs on the kareoke- and Andrea and I danced. That was fun. I’m going to miss seeing her smiling face at Christmas time!

Auntie Tami Braaten

My Dear Andrea, My other May 3rd Baby. The day you came into the word made your mommy and daddy the proudest people in the world. I finally had a little girl to love and buy stuff for, I loved it!!!! You see, I didn’t have any children yet, then 7 years later to the day, May 3rd, I was blessed with alittle girl too ( best friends having babies on the same day, go figure!) I could not have been happier and as I had been watching you grow into a beautiful, caring, funny, loving, giving woman I just kept looking at my little girl and prayed that if she can grow into half the person you were, I would be a very lucky and proud mommy. We are going to miss you very very very much. From now on every May 3rd there will be an extra candle lit and that one is for you Baby Girl. I am so grateful I retired and moved here and was able to spend so much time with you in the last 6 months! Love you and Miss You!!! Auntie Tami

Catherine Amendola

I remembered Andrea and the rest of the roomates all dancing around our teeny living room with me at midnight to celebrate the very minute I turned 21!

She was absolutely lovable, fun, funny, and always,always kind. She never talked behind people’s backs, she never critized, and always lended a helping hand or a shoulder to lean on. Her smile was enchanting. She will be truly missed.

Mindy Coppens

Andrea was a beautiful woman inside and out. It’s been several years since I’ve had a chance to really spend time with her but the memories will stay with me. She was so sweet and kind. I enjoyed our talks and time together. My two little boys just loved her. My oldest son (then 4 yrs old) had such a crush on her 🙂

May you be at peace now Andrea. I’m so sorry that you struggled so much and hurt so deeply.

Love and prayers to your family.


Harry & Peggy Kowal

Harry & I hold many fond memories of Andrea & her brother Kevin from the years when they were our neighbors on Woodruff Blvd. in Janesville.

When I was a growing up it was customary to make simple bskets containin a little treat and to give these small gifts to someone on May 1st. These simple “May Baskets” were given as a sign of friendship and celebration of Spring.

I fondly recall a May 1st when a very young Andrea hung a beautiful May Basket on our door and rang the door bell. It was such a thrill for us to see this kind and gentle tradition resurrected by little Andrea!

Our thoughts and prayers are with Andrea’s family and friends during this difficult time. We pray that the good Lord will bring all of you peace and comfort.

Harry & Peggy Kowal – Janesville, WI

Janet Zoellner

I spent so many years as your across the street neighbor and friend. I remember your beautiful brown eyes and such a quiet demeanor in the midst of all those big and boisterous kids you hung out with. Kevin was always the tag-a-long looking up to you for direction. You were always patient with him while I was around. Andrea, we only have hope now. Hope that comes from the Father and is grounded in the faith that we will see you again. You are gone too soon and for that the many around you will grieve. You are now truly absent from the body and present with the Lord. Your memory will bless those that you touched while you were here.



Happy Birthday Baby Girl. I miss you soooo much! I love you more than words can describe! Since you are not here for me to tell you the same boring story I told you every year on your birthday, I will tell it now. You were my first born and very planned. We got pregnant in August so we would have a baby before the summer. We figured you would be healthier, no flu season, and mom would not have to go through the summer 50 pounds heavier. You were the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. 5 1/2 hours of labor and an easy birth. I remember thinking, “why do all those women scream on t.v?” (until I had your 10 pound brother!!) You were born at 12:56 am, 8lbs 10 oz and 22 inches long! You had long black hair and dark, black, brown eyes, and they were big! I could not stop staring at you! Finally 24 hours later, the nurses had to give me a shot to sleep. They promised to watch you! Your dad was sooooo very proud! You looked like him. He counted your fingers and toes and loved you more than anything! Then when we brought you home, there was a party, always a party at the Zahn’s! Uncle Todd was there and when I got tired and had to take a nap, I paid him to sit by your bassinet and watch you breathe! May 3rd will always be your birthday to me even though I know, in heaven, you never get older and together we will be for eternity some day. So while I am here, your dad, Kevin, with the help of God and ALL His Angels, are going to work really hard to kick the sh.. out of eating disorder! Like I said before, the enemy f…ed with the wrong Mama and Papa and Baby BEAR!!!! I love you my sweet Anna Banana. Say hi to Grandma and GRandpa for me. I miss you and my heart is sooooo broke. God will prevail!!!

Kelly and Jimmy Wilson

Andrea and her brother Kevin were in our wedding in August 6th, 1994 and belive me you she was as beautiful growing up around her and she is still as beautiful as ever. I can say that Andrea will hold a special place in mine and my husbands hearts for EVER. She is got a sweet spirit about her that makes a person want to just go and grab her and give her such a HUGE hug and she would smile so much and she would make everyone laugh around her. I can honestly say that she is one of mine and my HUSBAND Jimmy’s BEST FRIENDS IN OUR HEARTS.

Cyndi Farmer

My memories of Andrea start before she was born. Shelly and I were pregnant at the same time, she was soooo excited about your birth and the fact we were both having little girls. She was the proudest Mama that I will ever know. Andrea was the cutest, quietest, child when she was at my house……(sorry I scared you when you were little.)

When the girls (Natalie, my daughter & Andrea) were about 3 yrs old, Shelly and I decided to put them in a morning preschool (cookie monster). They loved it and were the favorites in the class but the teacher asked us to speak to the girls about the way they ended the morning prayer…..

they thought that you ended a prayer w/”HEY MAN” not Amen….they were so sincere about it, that it was hard to tell them that they were’nt saying the right thing…..

When Shelly and Mark moved to Janesville our frienship didn’t end….Shelly and I got to know the McDonalds in Lk. Geneva well…we met there many weekends to trade off the girls, Natalie LOVED spending time with her AnnaBanna and Kevin. She spent most summers there, and camping w/ the cousins….Thank you for giving my daughter such wonderful memories…..The next time I seen Andrea she was a beautiful bride and so in love. I loved Andrea as if she was one of my girls and I love Shelly, Mark, and Kevin as if they were my own family. Andrea was a very loved child, sister, wife and friend…..may she find peace…because she gave sooooo many JOY!!! I love all of you ….

Judy VanWassenhoven -Smith

I dont have a memory of Andrea but I do know your Uncle Todd loved you soo ! I just wanted to say to Todd and family ..what a Beautiful Tribute to her life!!!! Wish I could have been ther for all of you but you are all in my thoughts and prayers! Love and Hugs Judy!!!

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