Monday, February 22, 2010

Arthur Barney Felkner, 1892-1990

  Arthur Barney Felkner was born on March 24, 1892, the second son of John and Mary Kingsberry Felkner.
  Barney was a man who lived life fully and abundantly. The grandson of an early settler in Johns Township, Barney knew hundreds of people in Appanoose County and liked them all. Even as a young man he was known for his good nature and generosity.
  Barnery never attended high school or college. He left the classroom in the little country school across the road at the end of fifth grade to help his father with the farming. Over the years he farmed first with his father and brothers, then in partnership with his brother Jim, and finally with Jim and nephew Paul. He loved the Century Farm which was his home from birth to death, and found pleasure in the changing seasons, the growing crops, and the wild life around him. Once Barney trained a team of four baby crows, which came at Barney's whistle to perch on his shoulder or on a stepladder on the lawn.
  As a young man Barney began to call square dances and to act as auctioneer for the box suppers that were customary fund-raisers for the country schools and churches. At the age of 90 he still called the "do-si-do's" at the nursing home while his young friends danced to entertain the residents.
  During World Ware I Barney served with the 88th Heavy Artillary in southern France; after the war he became an early member of the American Legion and retained those close ties throughout his life.
  In 1947 Barney married Nancy VanDeVenter at Atchison, Kansas. Nancy and Barney loved to dance or travel. Barney also bowled for many years, often bowling on two teams every week. At the age of 80 he bowled a 287, which stood as a record for the local bowling alley for many years.
  Barney also worked at the Livestock Pavilion at the Iowa State Fair for 47 years, serving as the superintendent for 25 of those years.
  During World War II Barney served on the Appanoose County Selective Service Board for 6 1/2 years, being chairman for four of those years. He received several citations from Presidents Roosevelt and Truman for this service.
  In 1972 Nancy Felkner suffered a stroke which kept her confined to a nursing home until her death in 1979. During those years Barney visited the home daily, keeping Nancy company and "helping out the old folks," in his own words. He organized square dance parties and Hot Dog Days; wheeled residents when they needed a bit of help, and cheered up anyone who came along. Even after Nancy's death, Barney returned often to visit and serve his friends.
  Following eye surgery in 1985, Barney could no longer live alone, but even after his move to the Extended Care Center of the hospital, he continued bowling until he was 96 years old. He remained a cheerful friend until deteriorating health resulted in his death on September 6, 1990.
  Barney Felkner is survived by his loving nephew Paul who cared for him for many years, and by his niece, Margaret Jarnagin of Des Moines. Others who celebrate the long, happy and blessed life of Barney Felkner include Myrtle Felkner and Chester Jarnagin, Barbara and Steve Gardner, Joan Felkner, Bill and Natalie Felkner, Tom and Debbie Jarnagin, Ted and Rita Jarnagin, and his great-great nieces and nephews Dianne Clarke, Emily Felkner, Scott, Todd and Brad Jarnagin and Sheila Jarnagin. Remembering him fondly are also a host of friends and distant relatives who thank God for the life of this happy, active, thoughtful and generous friend. 
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  The Editor sincerely appreciates the contribution of the above obituary to The Jerome Journal by Myrtle Felkner of Centerville, Iowa. 

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