The Rev. Canon Frank K. Barta

Rev. Canon Frank Kenneth Barta

The Reverend Canon Frank Kenneth Barta—affectionately called Father Ken—died peacefully at his home on August 4, 2012. All are welcome to the Holy Eucharist and interment of his ashes to be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego on Saturday, September 8 at 10:30 am. A reception will follow.

Rev. Barta, the Canon Residentiary at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, was born on April 5, 1924 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. His mother’s ancestors were Danish merchants and planters in the Virgin Islands since the 1600s. His father, of Bohemian descent, was a Commander with the United States Navy.

Rev. Barta served in WWII before attending Stanford University, where he graduated in 1950 with a degree in history. After receiving his masters of divinity in 1953 from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, in Berkeley, he returned to St. Thomas. There he became an ordained priest at All Saints Episcopal, the same church where he was baptized.

From 1954 to 1967, his ministry continued at Episcopalian parishes in Jacksonville, Florida and in El Monte and Fillmore in California. In 1968, he became chaplain with the Veterans Administration Hospitals in first Los Angeles and then in Palo Alto (1972 to 1978), before concluding as Rector Emeritus of St. James Church in Monterey (1979 to 1984). Rev. Barta also served in the Army Reserves as chaplain from 1956 to 1977, retiring with the rank of major. At each parish and hospital, he made friends that would follow him throughout his life.

In 1984, Rev. Barta returned to the Virgin Islands, where he served as historian for the National Parks Service in St. Croix. For several memorable years, he shared his research and knowledge of the Virgin Islands’ history, and assisted at St. John’s Church in Christiansted.

In 1990, Rev. Barta moved to San Diego, where he assisted as a priest at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral—becoming a Canon Residentiary in 1997—and at All Saints Episcopal Church. “The good Lord brought me here,” he would tell friends. “I couldn’t have asked for more.” Although macular degeneration robbed his sight, he would continue to conduct mass by memory as he spoke in his soft voice, warmly accented from the Virgin Islands.

In addition to his generous, compassionate caring for people, Rev. Barta loved genealogy. Through his maternal grandmother in the Virgin Islands, he was descended from Danish royalty, which allowed him to trace his ancestry to Charlemagne, via Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain. He traveled to both Denmark and the Czech Republic to gather information and historical documents. When he lost his eyesight, parishioner Alice Hanson helped him by typing up hundreds of pages of his research, which will be preserved in St. Croix.

Rev. Barta’s life was tremendously rich in friendships, through his churches, the Virgin Islands and his community at Coral Tree Plaza in San Diego. There are too many of you to name, but we thank all of you for making his life so meaningful and full of love.

Rev. Barta is survived by his sister, Agnes Dorothy (Dotsie) Cushman, and sister-in-law, Mae Barta; his nieces and nephew, Susan and Chip Cushman and Jennifer Barta Taylor. Father Ken was predeceased by his parents, Agnes Marie and Louis Joseph Barta, his brother, John, and nephew John Jr. He also leaves behind his “adopted” daughter, Susan French, with whom he never lost contact throughout their 50-years of friendship

For family flowers call 1-877-894-0431 and use family code #51693


  • Memorial Mass Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Rev. Canon Frank K. Barta

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Javier Virgen

April 13, 2013

Father barta was a hero for me and a father I never had!!!
He tought me how to forgive and to be kind to people.
He was like Ghandi in manny ways.....
I will forever miss him !!!!

Susan French

November 4, 2012

When I met Father Ken, at age 9, until this year, just before my 60th birthday, Father Ken has been a guiding light for me and as dear as a true father. We have never lost contact over all these years; he called me his "adopted" daughter, which was a title that I loved and cherished. I still want to pick up the phone to call him every Sunday and to hear his warm, caring voice that has meant so much to me throughout my life.

October 23, 2012

A dear, gentle man who always cared about those marginalized by society. He was a loyal friend, loving and kind to all.
I miss him daily.
Todd Muffatti friend

Patee Barta-Spurlock

September 8, 2012

Fr. Ken Barta was the cousin of Joe Barta who owned Servall Market years ago before his passing. His son is Jim Barta who was married to Patee Barta in 1973 by Fr. Ken and then their son Steve Barta was baptized by this great man. Steve and his son Brenden Barta have had a long relationship with Fr. Ken along with Patee who helped him with his Barta geneology projects when his eyes were failing him. He was respected and loved and memories of taking him to his favorite Asian restaurant on 7th St. and bringing him his favorite pizza at his home where he set a dinner table fit for royalty will be fond memories for Steve, Brenden and myself, Patee. Our last long talk by phone late June will be cherished and today we will honor him at his services at St. Paul's Cathedral. He has gone to be with the Lord and has done such great work on Earth - God Bless You precious Fr. Ken.

Patricia J Kaszas, Artist

September 3, 2012

As a local tile painter/artist, in early 2010, I was introduced to Ken Barta, by Michael Mangoian, a very close friend of his, (and prior tile art customer of mine), to develop Ken's personal coat of arms for a wall painting in his home. Ken had wanted to do this all his life now was the time. From the moment I met him, he was nothing short of a delight to meet, but more importantly, to listen to. His prior research of his family genealogy was so spectacular that we conversed in detail for hours in preparation for my part of the project. A 30-minute appointment always turned into a 2-hour chat. He loaned me several heraldry books from his extensive personal library. I took them home and I couldn't put them down, stepping back into time reading about kings and queens of year 700. What was more amazing, was that Ken, knew all this history by heart. Needless to say, the art project took quite awhile to complete as we did much more talking than I did painting! Before it was done, I had even researched all the precious stones on the Charlemagne Crown itself, paying close attention to color and exactly where they were to be placed - knowing all the while that Ken would surely notice if the crown was not represented perfectly. Yes, even with his super-duper magnifying glass which he needed regularly at this time. What a fine gentleman! May he rest in peace with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the most precious crown jewel of all time. Rejoice Ken, rejoice. You are in very good hands . . .

Fr. Larry Woodgate, OSB

August 28, 2012

Fr. Ken (Barta) was a dear friend to me. He was a blessing to us all. He reached out to all with love and gentleness. He help those in need. He always had time and words of encouragement; you felt wonderful in his presence. Fr. Ken was bright and had a wealth of knowledge. He was well read, a historian, and a geneaologist. Above all, Fr. Ken was an inspiration to me. He was a priest who lived and loved his vocation. He served God, his Church, and his people with love and devotion. He made a lasting impression on my life, my minstry and he is sadly missed.