Michael J. Barrer Memorial Fund

 Michael J. Barrer Memorial Fund

The Simple Things in Life 

Michael J. Barrer was an honest, hardworking man who loved his family, his church and his community. Mike enjoyed the simple pleasures in life including: camping, fishing, playing cards, wood working, playing with his two dogs Jordan and Jingles, and of course enjoying a good cold beer and an even better cigar! It was not uncommon for Mike to find a fishing hole while traveling on business. He preferred spending time outdoors rather than sitting in his hotel room.

Mike grew up in Oelwein, IA and was the son of Arnold and Mary Margaret. He and his brother Dan, and his sister Kathleen, attended Sacred Heart School and learned the value of a Catholic education, of which he passed onto his children. Mike began working for the local grocery store in high school and the wages he received enabled him to pay for his car, car insurance and its upkeep. He then went on to receive his A.S. degree in Food Marketing Management from Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, IA. After graduation, Mike began working for Randall Foods in Quincy, Ill and later transferred to its Davenport location.

Mike Loved His Family and Community 

Mike enjoyed working in the grocery store setting. His smile would ease customer worries and his respect for others led him to easily make friends. Using his knowledge and experience working with people, Mike became a McCormick Spice sales representative. Over the years he worked for other companies and never made the amount of money he earned a priority. Rather than measuring success by his material wealth and possessions, he found great pride in raising his two children, Jennifer and Joe, spending time with his wife, Roberta, and devoting his life to his family and friends. Mike also enjoyed the company of his beloved grandson, Michael Joe, and his son-in-law, Drew.

Whether he was helping out a neighbor, family member, his church or his community, you could depend on Mike to lend a hand. He was an active member in the Quad-City community and belonged to the Knights of Columbus and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Mike took great pride in being involved as a parent at Assumption High School. After Jennifer and Joe graduated from AHS, he continued his involvement at AHS by volunteering his time at the home football games.

Keeping His Spirit Alive

On September 16, 2006, Mike unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack. His death stunned family members and friends as he had no prior health problems. He appeared to be in good health and had not complained of any symptoms. The Barrers say friends of Mike’s have taken action about their own health care, and they believe his passing has encouraged others to not take their health for granted. To honor his life and to keep his spirit alive, the Barrers have established the Michael J. Barrer Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend.

“There was never any question in our minds that we needed a way to honor the life of this very special person,” said Roberta. “I know Mike would be pleased and humbled to know his family and friends are establishing this fund to help keep his spirit and memory alive.”

Mike touched the lives of many people while living, and he continues to do so today. His belief in giving back to the community and his desire to help others will be carried on through the Michael J. Barrer Memorial Fund.


"The Endow Iowa Tax Credit was the perfect way to create a fund while taking advantage of the state tax credit.

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The Teens for Tomorrow youth philanthropy program has given local students the opportunity to grant more than $70,000 to the community since the program's inception in 2002.
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