The Life of Charles "Chuck" Robert Barr
BARR CHARLES "CHUCK" Age 89, of Highland Park, graduated from human life on August 11. Although no headlines marked the event, he was a great man. People ranging from fellow Pittsburghers to New York art collectors have known Chuck as a wonderful self-taught artist and creative jazz musician. But above all, everyone touched by his joy knew him as a carrier of the Great Spirit. Ten minutes with Chuck could do more than make your day. It could open your heart to the boundless possibilities that life offers, if only we live from love. Chuck was raised in a working-class musical family in Beechview. Leaving home as a teenager to play tenor sax in a Chicago nightclub alongside brother, Tommy, a pianist, he burned out on the late-night routine. He then spent years trying to fit into so-called normal society, working various jobs in places from Yokohama (with the U.S. Army) to Philadelphia. Around 1969, Chuck returned to Pittsburgh to rediscover his calling and became a local legend. A Post-Gazette article dubbed him the city's "rambling minstrel" for his sax and flute recitals in public. College-trained artists marveled at the dynamic, visually musical paintings he began to turn out. During the 1980s, he taught art at Penn Circle Alternative High School and at the Point Park Children's School. Recognition for his own art came late. A one-man show this March at the Irma Freeman Center, curated by art expert Pat McArdle, triggered wide interest in buying his works. Yet Chuck's greatest work lay in how he lived. He was intellectually curious and spiritually inspired. He loved nature; he loved people. He wasn't perfect but always laughed, staying attuned to the harmonies that unite us. Chuck is survived by his wife, Mary Barr; his daughter, Lynne Jeffries (husband Jim); and son, David Barr. Interment was at Penn Forest Natural Burial Park. Before he passed, Chuck wrote in his final journal entry, "Well isn't The World a wonderful place to live and learn." He also left these words: "Every day is a reincarnation." And the last painting sold from his show bore a fitting title: "Go Baby You're Free." Professional services trusted to D'ALESSANDRO FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY, LTD., Lawrenceville. www.dalessandroltd.com.
Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Aug. 25, 2019
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Chuck's wonderful burial celebration
I have a request: Chuck's burial and celebration of his life on August 17 was so beautiful. If anyone has video or photos from that day, could you please share them here or send them to me? Of course, please share whatever you would like to otherwise! Thanks -- Mary