Claude Barber, 1954

claude obituary

The Binghamton Press, Wednesday, June 30, 1954

Generally, on my daily searches for Claude Barber, this is the first article that appears. I’ve been avoiding writing about his death, but chronological order aside, Memorial Day is fitting for a post about the man who signed up to be a soldier in his 40s.

Both my grandparents were gone before I could know them, now I just know of them. My mother in her 80s now gets upset when I ask for stories about my father and his family since he died so tragically, and young.  There is so little personal history.

Claude has a heart attack, whether it is on Monday or previously, he does not survive. Was he at work? Is this a genetic condition? He is only 52 and questions are numerous.

Alice, his second wife of eleven years survives him, as do his six children:

  • Claude, Jr of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I wonder how he chose this city? Was he stationed there in the Navy? Did he meet his wife through a shipmate from Milwaukee?
  • Fred, of Chenango Forks
  • Burton of Binghamton
  • Richard of Binghamton
  • Jean of Okinawa. Jean and her Marine husband are stationed in Okinawa following WWII.
  • Caroline of Jacksonville, Florida. Caroline’s husband is training as a pilot in the Navy.

Claude’s father, Fred Vernon Barber is living in Oxford, New York. His sister, Harriet resides in San Andreas, California and Frances is with her husband in Heidelberg, Germany. In 1954, the effects of the war that ended nine years earlier are still obvious with the worldwide postings in just this family.

For a young man, he has thirteen grandchildren already. Several more will be born in the next twenty-five years.

Claude’s life spans three major events: World War I, The Great Depression, and World War II. He is too young to be drafted or enlist in WWI. He does register for WWII which I think prompts his hasty divorce from Leoria and subsequent marriage to Alice.

The young Barber family escapes the devastating effects of the depression. Claude either works at IBM (ITR at that time) during high school or right after he graduates to reach the thirty-one-year career.

His memberships include:

  • IBM Quarter Century Club
  • IBM Second Generation Club (What is this? I can find no information on it.)
  • St. Mark’s Lodge 1001
  • F&AM Otseningo Bodies, AASR
  • Men’s Garden Club of Broome County, secretary

Rev W Paul Thompson
The funeral takes place at 3 p.m. at the Ivan A. Barber & Son Funeral Home, 428 Main Street, Johnson City with Rev. W. Paul Thompson of the Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church officiating.

St. Mark’s Lodge conducts ritualistic services which I know nothing about and would like to know more.



Claude Funeral
Burial is in Vestal Hills Memorial Park where several members of his family are and will be interred, including his son, Burton just a few years later.