Bernard "Barney" Leo
Bernard “Barney” Terry was a man full of integrity and compassion whose actions spoke volumes of his character. As a very “salt of the earth” kind of person, Barney was a hard worker even from his earliest moments. The man he grew into reflected this fact, as he was an honest, thorough and dependable man people were proud to know. For Barney, family was the most cherished thing in his life, and there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do to help his loved ones.
The 1920s were one of the pinnacle eras of American culture. The Great War was over and the rise of film, radio, the beginnings of television and the ready acceptance of telephone and electricity set the stage for many great things to come. Harry H. Terry and his wife, Frances (Ketterhagen), were far removed from these things that characterized the 1920s. They lived a modest life on their farm in Brighton Township, Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Already the proud parents of son Jerome, the couple welcomed the birth of their second son, Bernard Leo, on September 7, 1922. He and Jerome were eventually joined by younger siblings, twins Evelyn and Catherine, John and Virginia, rounding out the Terry household with six children.
Barney, as he was called, was close with his siblings, though this was not surprising considering that they spent the majority of their time together working the farm. When it came to their leisure time, they liked to play baseball and go hunting and fishing. Typical big brothers, Barney and Jerry were always finding some kind of mischief to get into, and playing tricks on each other for fun. Barney attended St. Francis Xavier Church School, a one-room schoolhouse through the 8th grade, and then left to work full-time on his Uncle Leo and Aunt Eva Ketterhagen’s farm.
In 1944, a wonderful thing happened to Barney – he met the love of his life, Vida “Vi” Elizabeth Smith, at a wedding and with that, their love story began. After a traditional courtship, Barney asked Vi to be his wife, and soon wedding plans were underway. However, those plans were in abeyance when Barney followed the patriotic calling of other young men of the time, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1945. He proudly served in World War II as an Apprentice Seaman, and upon his honorable discharge, he returned home to marry his sweetheart, Vi, on June 18, 1949, in St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lyons, Wisconsin.
Barney’s parents gave the newlyweds a parcel of land from their farm as a wedding present, and Barney set out building their home. By Thanksgiving 1949, he and Vi moved into the completed basement portion, and lived here for 3 1/2 years while Barney finished the rest of the house. At the time, Barney was working for contractors in the area, constructing barns, out buildings as well as roofing. Meanwhile, Vi worked as a meat cutter, a skill she learned while the men were away in the war, and she also did bookkeeping. Over the next few years, Barney and Vi filled their hearts and home with the joy and laughter of three wonderful children: Fred (1950), Carmen (1953) and Tim (1957).
With an incredibly admirable work ethic, Barney worked tirelessly to provide the best for his family. In 1960, after over 8 years working with contractors, he decided to start his own business, concentrating on helping area farmers build new barns, pour concrete, fix equipment, do electrical repairs – Barney was definitely a man of many skills. Because of his field of work, he became affectionately known as – “Barnyard Barney.” Barney made sure to instill his strong work ethics into his children, his sons Fred and Tim often worked side by side with him on jobs. But his values didn’t stop there; Barney took the time to teach his trade to his grandsons, Tony and Kris, and nephew, Mark.
Throughout his life, Barney never thought twice about helping someone in need. He continually volunteered his time and talent, fixing anything he could. Although seemingly gruff on the outside, he had a heart full of compassion and was generous to a fault. Barney would often come home from work, and head over to his family’s farm, lending a hand with whatever they needed. Over the years, he also helped remodel many relatives’ homes and built cottages. Unfortunately, all of taxing physical work Barney did for so many years eventually took its toll on his body. It started in 1982 when he suffered a heart attack and had circulation problems. Barney had knee replacements in 1999 and 2001. At that time, he was also diagnosed with COPD, which eventually led to his retirement from carpentry in 2006.
Not one to be idle, Barney soon found another “occupation” to keep them busy. Like the saying “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure,” he began collecting scrap and recycling it for cash. Growing up in the Depression, Barney knew how to be frugal, and it often amazed him what people threw away. For him, this was a win-win situation – he helped people get rid of their unwanted things, and he developed friendships and got paid doing it. Outside of treasure hunting, Barney had many hobbies he enjoyed, including hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, and playing cards. He was known to be quite a card shark when it came to Euchre and Sheepshead and he enjoyed Bingo. Barney was also active in his community as a member of the Rice Lemmerhart Smith American Legion Post #327 in Lyons. He volunteered on Tuesdays for Bingo night at the VFW Post #4551 in Antioch, and once a month at the VA Hospital. A man of faith, Barney was a lifetime member of St. Francis Xavier Church, he was a member of the Holy Name Society and was Cemetery Sextant for 20 years.
After an accident at his home on August 3, 2011, Barney spent 3 weeks in the hospital and 2 months in rehabilitation. Vi was vigilant in Barney’s care, working hard so that he could come back to their home, where they shared 62 wonderful years together. Much to their delight, Barney did make it home again, however it was short-lived for on Monday, November 14th he was admitted to Seasons Hospice in Waukesha, and he passed away surrounded by his family on Wednesday, November 16, 2011.
Barney was the beloved husband of Vi Terry (nee Smith). Cherished father of Fred (Sharon) Terry, Carmen “Camie” (Jerry) Camp and Tim Terry. Loving grandfather of Nathan (Tiffany) Terry, Alexis Terry, Anthony (Jill) Camp, Kris Camp, January “Jet” (Dan) Multhup and Andrew Terry. Great-grandfather of Bella Terry, Madelyn Multhup, Timothy “TJ” Multhup, Jared Camp, and Jordan Camp. Dear brother of the late Jerome (the late Dorothy) Terry, the late Evelyn (the late Edward) Suminski, and the late Catherine (the late Ted) Jaworski. Survived by a brother John (Dolores) Terry and sister Virginia (Robert) Jazdzewski. Further survived by numerous relatives and friends.
Visitation will be on Sunday, November 20, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 1704 240th Avenue Brighton, WI, from 12:30 – 3:45 p.m. with a Funeral Mass at 4:00 p.m. Inurnment at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to St. Francis Xavier Parish or Seasons Hospice. Please visit Barney’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com , where you may sign his online guest book and share condolences. Arrangements by Suminski Life Story Funeral Homes, Niemann/Suminski; (414) 744-5156.
Leave a condolence or share a memory