Raymond Barth

Posted 1/27/23

Raymond Charles Barth, 95, of Chrisman, passed away quietly in his sleep on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, at the Pleasant Meadows Senior Living facility in Chrisman.

A service celebrating his life is …

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Raymond Barth


Raymond Charles Barth, 95, of Chrisman, passed away quietly in his sleep on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, at the Pleasant Meadows Senior Living facility in Chrisman.

A service celebrating his life is 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, at Templeton Funeral Home. Burial follows in Hoult Cemetery. A visitation is from noon until the time of the service Monday at the funeral home.

Mr. Barth was born on Feb. 5, 1927, the son of the late Raymond Barth Sr. and Marjorie Gaines Barth. He married his teen-age sweetheart, Peggy Scott, at her family’s home near Scottland on Feb. 8, 1948. She preceded him in death on April 24, 2015.

He is survived by their children, Kathi Barth Freemon, of Edmond, Okla., and William (Stephanie) Barth, of Beloit, Wis.; his brother, Lee (Kennetta) Barth, of Metcalf; five grandchildren, Jennifer (Todd) Dennis of Edmond, Okla., Laura (Patrick) Briggs of San Angelo, Texas, Traci Barth Conway, of Longwood, Fla., William Kyle (Carrie) Barth, of Huntley, and John (Amanda) Barth, of Roscoe; 11 great-grandchildren, Michaela Dennis, Ben Dennis, Coen Briggs, Taylor Briggs, Kierstin Barth, Kaylee Barth, Kassie Barth, Cate Conway, Caroline Conway, Jackson Barth and Khloe Barth; niece Stefanie Lemon, nephews Blake Barth, Rhett Barth, Jacob Barth and Kris Barth; and several great-nieces and nephews.

As was often the case in that era, Mr. Barth was born at home in a house across from the village park in Metcalf. Shortly thereafter, he moved with his parents to a family farm home a few miles northeast of Metcalf, where he grew up and went to a nearby one-room country school attended through eighth grade.

He graduated from Metcalf High School and was fond of telling family members through the generations that he was one of five students at commencement. The story was guaranteed to generate chuckles from the family’s adults, and wide-eyed wonder from his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, most of whom reside and have attended school in larger cities with hundreds of classmates.

At an early age it became clear that Mr. Barth possessed an exceptional singing voice. He would put it to good use across decades, from early radio appearances in the days when that medium often presented live entertainment, to later requests for him to sing at weddings and funerals involving family members and friends alike. One of his first engagements occurred when he was still a child, singing live on a Tuscola radio station. Among his last was singing at the wedding of his granddaughter, Traci, in Florida.

In his late teens, Mr. Barth auditioned for jobs at major radio stations in Chicago and Indianapolis, including singing on-air for WLS. At 20, he was offered a position as a live performer at an Indianapolis station, but by then he was engaged to be married and had made a deal to take on additional land to farm. He chose family first, and began a life devoted to the land. Through the years he mused about how life might have turned out differently had he chosen the entertainment business. Generations of family members reminded him with smiles that none of them would have existed had he chosen another path.

Still, his sonorous voice provided the centerpiece for family sing-alongs across generations, at holiday gatherings accompanied on the piano first by his wife, Peggy, and later by his daughter Kathi, a particularly accomplished pianist. As he aged and technology advanced, Mr. Barth’s hobby was to make recordings of everything from music to old movies on CDs and DVDs. His family treasures the recordings he made of his singing everything from show tunes and ballads to faith music, which he generously provided to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was also an avid lifelong moviemaker, first with film and later with digital video, chronicling life in Metcalf, Chrisman and Edgar County. His pictures have been in high demand not only by family, but often by friends and acquaintances across the region.

Ray and Peggy Barth worshipped at Methodist churches in Metcalf and Chrisman until faltering health prevented attendance. Faith held an important place in their lives, which they passed on to their progeny.

Mr. Barth was a lifelong farmer in the Metcalf area, where his family’s roots on the land stretched back to the mid-1800s. He made it his life’s ambition to reacquire several portions of the land various family members had owned and worked over several generations, achieving his goals through determination and the typical dawn-to-dusk work ethic so common among men in his chosen profession.

Memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Online condolences at www.templetonfuneralhome.com.