Chester Arleigh Barnard
June 6, 1941 – October 6, 2021
Chester was born June 6, 1941 in Denver, Colorado to Fern Dickinson and Chester A Barnard II. His early life was fraught with challenges, he lived with each of his parents for a short time, his paternal grandparents Mr. and Mrs. French in Berthoud and eventually when he was 9, he came to live with his maternal grandparents Floyd and Deulah Dickinson of Lyons full time.
Curly Ohline took Chester under his wing and was a mentor to him for many years. Through him Chester would begin to discover his love for the mountains and rock quarry work, something that would stay with him all his life.
School, however, was a different matter. Chester only made it through the 10th grade, as he would put it, “because I couldn’t copy off Art Lee’s papers anymore” and never went back. The outdoors was more to his liking, where he worked for the Boy’s Camp near Lyons.
His teen years introduced him to another passion: cars. Fixing up and tinkering vehicles into hot rods and spending time racing through the canyon became his life. He made his first car as a child with neighbor and friend Jerry Ribble, and learned he had a natural ability to make things go fast. He and his friends, usual suspects Jerry Leiding, George Wechsler, Art Lee, Albert Goranson, Robert “Bee” LaFollette (and others of whom we shall protect their identities), spent countless nights thundering through the North Canyon. Racing one another, all while trying to avoid the cops, or cruising downtown Longmont on a weekend night, became the staple of Chet’s youth.
Marie’s Bar was the place where pretty much all the couples in Lyons met. Chet would meet Sharel LaFollette, and by this time he was working steady with Hutchinson Homes in Denver framing houses. In 1962, barely 21, they were married, welcoming daughter Sherri the next year. Chet would still hot rod, much to Sharel’s dismay, but eventually that passion would turn to the garage, where he would spend his evenings fixing cars.
By the time the early 1970’s arrived, he and Sharel welcomed their second child, a son, Randy, in 1971. Chet was settling into a pattern of working all day in Denver and doing side jobs at night fixing cars for anyone who asked. He would build his own house, although he never actually finished it, falling victim to the old saying of a “carpenter who is too busy to finish his own home.” He’d also spend his weekends helping in-laws or friends with side construction projects. Chet loved being busy.
He would spend much of his free time at Valmont junkyard in Boulder. There he would scrounge parts, bring home unrecoverable wrecks and turn them back into working vehicles again. He became known for taking two smashed vehicles (of the same type…well, usually) cutting them in half and welding the two good halves back together. He loved spending time with friends in the garage, like Denny Pralguski, Ken Richmond, Farren Elwood, Albert Goranson, and so many more over the years. If you needed an engine replaced, frame straightened, radiator replaced, or whatever the car needed, Chet’s garage was the place to be.
Chet never forgot his love for the rock quarry. After losing an opportunity years earlier from the untimely passing of his friend and mentor Curly Ohline, in the late 1980's he was able to purchase a rock quarry just north of Lyons. Spectacular views and plentiful red flagstone became a rekindled passion. As the years would go on, time in the garage would become less, time at the quarry would become more and more. His ideal day off would be getting coffee in the morning with friends, going to the quarry, moving stones around on his SkidSteer, then come home to a family gathering with steak off the grill and plenty of food.
But less time in the garage didn’t mean less involvement with the community. Chet lost his job in the early 1980’s with Hutchinson after a workplace accident. He was doing so much construction side work on the evenings and weekends that he decided to do that full time. There were some lean years but he never gave up. He would depend greatly on Sharel to keep things going at home. As time went on, there is hardly a home in Lyons, Allenspark, or Raymond that wasn’t touched by Chet in a small or big way.
In the end that was perhaps Chet’s greatest legacy. He was always generous with his time and talents, more concerned with helping people than getting ahead. So, the next time you sit down with a cup of coffee, enjoy it. Then think about how you can help someone today. Then go do it.
Thanks, Dad. We will all miss you. Randy Barnard Sherri Gerhardt
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.howemortuary.com for the Barnard family.
Celebration of Life
Saturday, October 16, 2021
Chester Arleigh Barnard
October 18, 2021
Chet was such a kind person. My Dad Dean Brown was always so glad to see him. I don’t know how many cars he helped work on with my dad and grandpa. But they enjoyed being together. Losing him leaves such an empty ache. My condolences to you all.
October 18, 2021
Great stories here, and the mention of Valmont Auto Parts reminded me of our gear-head conversations over coffee! As a kid, I grew up in the back of that junkyard and spent a lot of time at the Elks Club with the owners…
October 15, 2021
I'm disappointed with myself for not keeping in contact with Chatter over the last couple years (an ironic nickname for him I often thought, but seldom said aloud). I know he won't hold it against me though... he's not that kind of guy.
I worked with Chester for quite a few years in the early 2000s, mostly remodeling and repairing in the Lyons area. We did a lot of jobs on old houses and cabins that were kinda sinking in upon themselves and nearly dissolving into the ground. There were many projects where we had to remove and replace the supportive parts of structures of rotten old dilapidated cabins, working from the bottom up to fix the foundational components. We really did bring back some of the "original" beauty in many of those projects.
We were very different people though, Chester an old school curmudgeon (jk) and me a young(ish) pie in the sky idealist...a “know it all” who didn’t really know it all. That fact he for sure taught me, but he was always kind and polite and never abrasive (unlike his hands - you coulda sanded a rusty anvil with those mitts).
Though I know there are stories of rough and tumble times back in the day where a few unlucky people might have disagreed, Chester was a kind man with a gentle soul.
Through knowing and working with Chester, I found that even though we were very different people, when we worked together as a team with a common goal we could turn desperate old issues into rejuvenated and beautiful things again. He really taught me a lot.
Sitting here remembering Chester, it occurs to me that he taught me a very important life lesson that bears so much importance today.
I’d like to remind myself of this and I hope to remember to repeat it to myself in these insecure and uncertain times… Even if we’re very different people, when we work honestly together and with sincere intent to fix the things in disrepair we can bring back the beauty that once was there.
RIP Chester...thanks for everything!
October 13, 2021
A STORY AND MEMORY ABOUT A SPECiAL FRIEND OF MINE, “CHESTER BARNARD”!
Chester and I both attended Lyons Schools together, we were just in different grades together. When we both got to be big boys we played Football together, Chester played Half Back and I played End. Our Quarterback, Pat Ward, liked a certain play which he would throw a pass to me, along the edge of the field, you remember it, was East of the Old high School Building and as the ball was in the air, Chester would scamper up behind me as I was catching the ball and the race was on, but if a defender from the other Team tried to tackle me, I would pitch the Ball to Chester and while that guy and I were on our way to the ground and Chester would Gallop on to Pay Dirt and while 6 Points was being put up for the Blue and White Team, there stood Chester in the End Zone, Yep there he is, I can see him now, he is Grinning from Ear to Ear!
When School was over for us, we went our separate ways, but on occasion our paths would cross and watch out, we were about to have another good time, doing something together!
As the years passed by there were times that I needed the help of a Carpenter and I’d call Chester, but there was one of those times that really sticks out in my mind, just like a sore Thumb, you know, like when a Carpenter hits his Thumb with his Hammer and I’d like to tell you about it!
It was in the summer time, early June in fact and we set down for lunch that day and during our conversation somehow it came up that it was Chester’s Birthday or was about to be, anyway between the 2 of us we realized that we were born the same year, I just a few months before him, which caused me to call Chester, my little Brother and for the rest of that day it was, “little Brother” this and “Big Brother” that , and you know, that Special Bond that we had over so many years, just got more Special That Day! So in closing I’d like to say:
“LITTLE BROTHER I ALREADY MISS YOU AND WE WILL MEET AGAIN ONE DAY TO HAVE ANOTHER GOOD TIME, TOGETHER!"
YOUR "BIG BROTHER" JOHN HALL
October 13, 2021
Memory of Chester Barnard "Your Life" began in Denver Colorado June 6, 1941. I was their with your mother Fern she asked me if you wanted her to take you home, I said no I wanted a Kitten. Your Journey started with your Grandma and grandpa Dickinson, You lived off and on with them from when you were born until two, we went to the dump with Grandpa and I opened the door and you bounced out passed your grandpa and landed on the trash. Boy my dad was really mad but you were laughing. Then you went to live with your Dad and aunt in Johnstown until you went to Denver until age five, then your dad Married and moved to Montrose. When you turned nine you moved to Duelas and Floyds home in Lyons. Journey started again, a friend of your Grandpas took boys to Sky Camp, and taught them a trade, how to frame houses, this is where you learned so much on how to build. Your mothers boyfriend showed you how to work on cars. Then your Journey changed once more as you married JoAnn, built your house as your Grandma Dickinson gave you the lot next to theirs. You had Sherri and Randy moved the original home to a new lot, and built a bigger house on the lot your Grandma gave you. You have four Wonderful Grand-kids, as your Journey now has ended. Your Mother came and took your hand in hers and took you home, I will see you again someday my dear Nephew.
October 12, 2021
Saying goodbye to the eldest of our Family members is just heart-breaking. We are loosing all the People that made are Families so great. I will miss my Cousin Chester so much, the man that could build or fix anything. The person that always will be remembered for that chuckling laugh and his great smile, My childhood with all of his family is locked in my heart forever, you are truly Missed....
" .The Moment That You Died"
The moment that you died
my heart was torn in two,
one side filled with heartache,
the other died with you.
I often lie awake at night,
when the world is fast asleep, and
take a walk down memory lane,
with tears upon my cheeks.
Remembering you is easy,
I do it every day,
but missing you is heartache
that never goes away.
I hold you tightly within my heart
and there you will remain.
Until the joyous day arrives,
That we will meet again.
October 9, 2021
Chester has been a great inspiration to me and a great friend , this man had a masters degree in
Everything he did.
Chester and I had a contest one day.
With my alpha beta capa degree in architecture and young know it all attitude .
We bet a lunch , who could figure out how many
Squares of roofing was needed on a job.
I got my calculator out and we started to figure
This out before I could say a sq+b sq= c sq
Chester gave me a answer. And yes Chester enjoyed that hamburger. But he never said I told you so.
I am sure his family knows how much he will
Be missed by not only me but all the people that was Lucky to have met him. I have so many great things to say about Chester .
But I know I am not the only one, that’s just how many great stories Chester’s character brought us. Take a day off my friend. Paul f.