Clarence Joseph Barry Jr., a second generation native Californian and a Davis resident for 70 years, died Tuesday, April 3, 2007, at his home. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Lucille.
Clarence was born November 2, 1917 to Nellie Gertrude Maloney and Clarence Joseph Barry, Sr. in St. Helena, CA. He graduated from St. Helena High School in 1936 where he excelled in history and dramatics, and served as student body president during his senior year. He moved to Davis in 1937 because I could earn $16 a week working as a grocery clerk at the Purity Store.
After working at the grocery and for the Southern Pacific Railroad in Dixon as a crossing guard operator at night, he passed the civil service exam and took a job at the post office as a substitute clerk/mail carrier in 1938. During his years at the post office, he carried mail, served the public as a clerk and eventually became postmaster, holding that position for 8 years.
While living in a boarding house on 5th and F Streets, Clarence, aged 22, had the family home at 516 G Street built in 1939.
He joined the US Army in 1942. After basic training as an infantryman he served as a postal clerk in the New York City APO and then as a Personal Affairs Consultant to returning soldiers on the Army transport ship Waycross Victory. Besides providing soldiers with information and advice to facilitate the discharge process, he organized ship-board entertainment and directed the ships library and newspaper. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
Returning to Davis, he resumed work at the post office here. While attending a Great Books Discussion Group at Sacramento City College, he met the charming Lucille Bresnan. They married in 1952 and have one daughter, Jane. He is survived by his daughter and three grandsons, Patrick Joseph Denny of Fairbanks, AK, James Stuart Denny of Spokane, WA and Alexander Barry Denny of Manhattan Beach, CA. He has one great-grandson, Isaac Denny Anderson of Fairbanks, AK.
Clarence, while serving in the post office, enjoyed meeting the public and became friends with people he met over the counter. He often invited UCD students from other countries home for dinner. He retired as postmaster in 1975, after 33 years as a civil servant.
He was a member of St. James Parish and volunteered as a reader and lector at Mass. He was a member of the Rotary Club, and after retirement, participated in the local chapter of the AARP, serving one term as president. He volunteered at the Davis Senior Center as a Travelaires consultant and was active in the Geneology Club and the Yolo County Historical Society.
Throughout the years his love of travel has taken him to the land of his ancestors, Ireland, several times. He often spoke about two outstanding trips he and Lucille took to the wine country of France, and to China, newly open to the west. He loved the outdoors, the wilderness and especially the back country of Yosemite. He led his daughter and friends on memorable back-packing trips. Sundays were often spent on family drives over Californias highways and byways.
He enjoyed life, especially fine dining, and could describe many delicious meals from years ago and exactly where hed had them! He also made memories through photography; his artistic eye captured his travels on slides; an evening slide show was also a favorite activity. He never lost his fascination with trains, especially steam engines. He loved cats, birds and other animals. Having grown up in the California wine country on various ranches, he learned to graft fruit from his father, and grew several varieties of backyard plums and peaches in Davis.
A memorial Mass and reception to celebrate Clarences life will be held at a later date, to be announced. Remembrances may be made in his name to the St. James Catholic Building Fund or to Yolo Hospice.