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Carol Ann Barney

carol barney

Carol Ann Barney, age 81, of Arlington, Virginia, passed away at home surrounded by loved ones on August 2, 2020, after several strokes and a long battle with cancer. She was the wife of Gerald O. Barney, her beloved husband of 58 years, the mother of William Stewart Barney, Kristen Ramona Barney, and Stephen Elkanah Barney, and grandmother of Natalie Aileen Barney and Thomas Gerald Barney.

Carol was born on July 10, 1939 to Lillian Huret Fund and John Gottlieb Fund in National, Washington, about 14 miles west of Mount Rainier National Park. She had five siblings: John, Sally, Bob, Mary, and Patty.  She graduated from Battle Ground High School at the age of 16.

Carol was determined to get a good education and overcame many barriers such as transportation and funding.  She took pre-nursing courses at Clark Junior College in Vancouver. She later enrolled in the Lewis and Clark College nursing program in 1957 and earned her Registered Nurse (RN) license. The nursing program was taught in cooperation with Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland and Lewis and Clark College.

In 1960, Carol entered a work-study program at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. She graduated with a BA in psychology. Carol met her future husband, Jerry, at the Willamette University Infirmary when he came in sick. They were married in 1962, and began their adventurous life together by moving to Madison, where Jerry completed a PhD in Physics. In Madison, Carol worked as a public health nurse while raising Bill and Kris. 

In the 1970s they moved to Medford, Massachusetts, where Steve was born.  Then they followed Jerry’s career to Arlington, Virginia; Scarsdale, New York; and back to Arlington.  In the 1980s, in order to put the kids through college, Carol earned a master’s degree in Special Education from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia.  She then taught special education for all grades at Glencarlyn Elementary School, where the student body spoke over 40 languages, being largely from immigrant families.  In her 11 years there, she gained the respect of her colleagues for her skillful teaching and advocacy for student needs.

Carol and Jerry took the family on adventurous vacations, including camping in the Adirondack Mountains and Prince Edward Island in Canada.  They were avid learners about ecological ways of living, and took a course on house building at the New Alchemy Institute in Maine.  Carol put her nutritional knowledge to work preparing wholesome meals for the family, including grinding her own grain to make bread.

Carol was a wonderful cook and hostess. Throughout Jerry’s career in the philanthropy, government, and nonprofit sectors, she prepared scores of memorable dinners for anywhere between 10 and 40 people.  In particular, she hosted dinners for the Board of Trustees of Millennium Institute (founded by Jerry) and many staff and foreign visitors; and lunches and dinners for young people participating in Our Task (also founded by Jerry). She also hosted many family gatherings at her home.

Carol was very community minded: she volunteered for a food pantry, cooked meals for the homeless in a hypothermia program, tutored children in math and reading, and provided meals for neighbors when ill.  She loved to read and participated in a book club and museum group through Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, where she and Jerry were members for over 40 years.  At the Church they founded a Forum discussion group to explore critical issues such as environment, poverty, globalization and more with other members. Carol also enjoyed gardening and shared her vegetables and herbs with family and friends. She was skilled at quilting, sewing, crocheting, knitting, and other fabric crafts; and was an excellent baker.  She frequently gave loaves of bread to neighbors as gifts.

Carol was an avid reader of two newspapers every day, and enjoyed discussing politics and current events.  She wanted to see a woman elected president and volunteered on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  She was a longtime advocate of protecting the environment, composting, and recycling.  She enjoyed the opportunity to travel with Jerry to China, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Mexico, and other places.  Most of all, Carol was a vital part of the Lyon Village neighborhood in Arlington, of her extended family, and of her and Jerry’s dear friends in their monthly “Friday Night” discussion group, which met for over 40 years.

Throughout her life, Carol was the glue that held the family together when Jerry’s work required extensive travel or required long hours.  Her upbringing in Washington timber and farm country gave her the patience and resourcefulness she needed to take care of the family during his demanding career. Carol called upon her nursing background in the last 20 years of her life, to be a devoted and skillful caregiver and advocate for Jerry through his health challenges.    

Carol was deeply grieved to lose her son Steve in May 2020, and Jerry passed away in September 2020, five weeks after her death.  Carol is survived by her brother Bob Fund, her sister Patty Olson, her son Bill and daughter Kris, her grandchildren Natalie and Thomas, and her daughters-in-law Sally Alt and Andrea Barney, as well as Kris’s partner Anthony Hyatt.  She is fondly remembered and greatly missed by all.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Carol was lovely in so many ways. Here are three: (1) Nice. This may seem like a small word, but Carol was one of the most fundamentally nice and decent human beings we have ever known. That is not a small thing. (2) Helping. My goodness, was she a helper. Even after she and Jerry were so sick, she would show up at our house, when we were sick, bringing her famous chicken soup. (3) Desserts. Wow. When you went to a pot luck (and Lutherans go to many of them), you wanted Carol to be the dessert person. They were always delicious. Carol was one of the kindest, loveliest people on the planet, and Laura and I miss both her and Jerry so very very much.

  2. We met the Barney Family at Grace Lutheran Church in Scarsdale, NY, in the ’70’s.  Along with Daniel (Pastor) and Kristin (Kris) Wee, we bonded and formed one of those rare and blessed life-long friendships.  (Who says long-distance relationships don’t work?)  We cherished the visits we made to each other as our life journeys took us in so many different directions.  We were the beneficiaries of their hospitality in Arlington on more than one occasion.  The pictures we offer here were taken on their visit to us in Florida in 2011, where we connected with our Wee friends as well.  Blessings to Bill and Kristen as they live in the lasting love of their family.

  3. Carol was a special person, and I miss all of the good times we had together. She always greeted Steve and I with a big hug and freshly baked muffins or other treat. Carol cooked us many delicious meals and taught us how to make crepes and cook a Thanksgiving turkey. It was a joy to work with her and Kris in the kitchen. We enjoyed taking walks with her in her yard and seeing her irises, hydrangeas, and other beautiful plants. We also enjoyed hearing her insightful comments about current events and books she read, as well as seeing lovely things she had sewn or knitted. She was always caring for others and thinking about people in need. I am grateful for all the time I had with her.  

  4. We were fortunate to be part of that FNG when we were members of Holy Trinity. As Carole’s guests we regularly enjoyed her famous hospitality. I still remember the black beans soup with a liberal slug of rum stirred in. Not to mention the superb cakes she produced for large crowds. Those discussion nights we were fed body and soul for sure. Nothing ostentatious but nourishing and delicious and prepared with care.
    Carole and Jerry introduced us to the concept of globe- trotting. They went everywhere! In 1999 they flew out to Cape Town, South Africa where Jerry was a speaker at the Parliament of the World Religions. They returned via Johannesburg and made a point to spend time with our daughter who was a volunteer there. They took time to visit a development project in Soweto and to socialize with the whole group . Back in the US. Carole never failed to enquire after the group and the well being of our future son in law. She was sincerely interested in that small community.
    Listening and caring but assertive and independent, Carole used her training and skills to good effect throughout her teaching career. She was passionate about the welfare of her students and followed political ramifications closely, often with dismay.
    It was a privilege to know her, chuckle with her, and learn from her as a role model of a life well lived.
    Christine and Steve Cooney

  5. Carol was a person of many virtues, but I especially remember two things about her–food and laughter, often in combination. As a staff member at the Institute for 21st Century Studies, I was often invited by the Barneys to have dinner with them. One evening Jerry, Steve, and I were deep in a discussion at the dining table when Carol brought in various covered dishes from the kitchen. We said the blessing, and then Carol started taking off the lids while we three continued to talk. Suddenly Carol burst out laughing, a real belly laugh, and exclaimed, “OH NO!” Looking at the table, we discovered that she had prepared fish, pasta, a vegetable, and a salad–baked fish in a green herb sauce, spinach tagliatelle, steamed broccoli, and tossed ruccola.  It was spectacularly green and would have been well-suited for St. Pat’s Day. That Carol could both prepare a lovely dinner and laugh at how it looked was typical of her warm and open-hearted personality. I will always remember her with great affection.  

  6. Carol was one of my four aunts. What I always admired about Carol was her sense of adventure. From starting college at a younger age than normal to moving across the country away from family to traveling around the world, she was brave and courageous. It’s not easy to do that. But she made it look easy, raising a wonderful family and living a life of service and devotion. I’ll miss you Aunt Carol and hold you in my heart. Rest in peace.

  7. Carol was such a gem, always radiating such love and kindness; I only hope I can be half as wonderful as her! I met Carol while working with Our Task, where I visited their lovely home often. We even took a road trip to Toronto together when we first met! Because of Carol’s welcoming, loving presence, I immediately felt at home, even like family. She is greatly missed, but her spirit lives on through all of us – I for one strive to imitate her welcoming and generous spirit with those I meet.

  8. I had the pleasure of getting to know Carol when I started leading a Holy Trinity “Green Team” in 2007. Carol was one of the two people I could always count on to help organize the various team events. I most remember her work on the “Harvest Dinner” we held for the congregation to feature and encourage farm-to-table cooking well before that became common practice. She arranged for our guest speaker from Potomac Vegetable Farms, shared her local source for chickens, and provided the recipe for lemon chicken that was served at the dinner. I still make her lemon chicken recipe regularly and think of Carol with a smile every time I do. A truly lovely person.

  9. So many wonderful memories of Carol come to mind.  Among these, for the Rulises, are the very many pleasant hours spent hiking together with Carol to the Old Rag mountain summit in Shenandoah National Park, especially in the 1980s.  Carol was an intrepid hiker and pleasant trail companion, with delicious snacks always ready to share.  We will always associate Carol with the beautiful hillside covered with trilliums that we saw on our hikes.  

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