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Mary Margaret Barnes

Born: 10/5/1924, Spokane, Washington
Death: 2/16/2008, Moab, Utah
Service: May 17, 2008 at 2:00 pm, Her Home

Mary Margaret "Terby" Barnes, age 83 passed away on Feb. 16, 2008 at Allen Memorial Hospital after a long bout with cancer.

Terby was born on October 5, 1924 to Joseph B. and Alice Weinmann Irvine in Spokane, Wash. When "Peggy," as she was known to her relatives, was 4-1/2 years old the family moved to Detroit where her mother died in childbirth, followed by the newborn's death. Her father then took a job in Washington, D.C. and Mary Margaret was placed in a Catholic boarding school operated by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent dePaul until she finished grade school. She then boarded at Holy Cross Academy, graduating in 1942 and continued her education for one year at Dunbarton College. Terby took a job at the War Manpower Commission, meantime attending night classes at George Washington University and Strayers Business College where she acquired the skills of secretary that were to afford her employment for the next 40 years.

In 1948, Terby and a friend moved to El Monte, Calif. where she went to work for a small branch of the DuPont de Nemours company. It was here, in the chemistry laboratory, that she met Francis A. Barnes whom she married and with whom she would spend the next 55 years of her life.

In 1951, the two moved to Fresno, Calif. and both went to work for North American Aviation. In 1957, with impending closing of the plant, the couple moved to Sunnyvale, Calif. and got jobs with Lockheed Missile and Space. The following year their marriage was blessed with a baby daughter, Terry Lan. Terby and Fran had long followed the practice of taking lengthy vacations into natural areas and the addition of a child did nothing to hinder that. They traveled the West extensively, taking long leaves from their jobs. After one of these periods, Terby returned to go to work for Sylvania Electric, also in the Bay area, but in 1964 the family took off seriously for a four-year "sabbatical."

During this period the Barneses once again embarked on trailer-traveling, spending their summers in the cool Canadian Rockies, their winters on the warm Mexican west coast. When Terry was old enough to attend school, she was enrolled wherever the caravan happened to be parked. In 1968, the Barneses "discovered" Moab, in the heart of canyon country and, simply put, never left. Terby found government employment once again, this time for the National Park Service where she spent the next 15 years before retiring in 1985 at age 61.

During their travels, Fran had taken up magazine article writing about their experiences and had since branched into writing guide books, and making maps of canyon country. Terby became his right hand partner in their budding, then flourishing publishing business, typing, proofreading, getting bids, and distributing. By the time Fran died in 2003, Terby was comfortable as sole publisher/editor of Canyon Country Publications, a position she retained until her own death.

In their early Moab years, Terby and Fran managed the roller skating rink on weekends, teaching games and dance skating. Terby also joined the women's volleyball league and took Bridge lessons. She soon became active in a startup women's singing group, the Valley Voices, of which she remained an avid member until her death. She was also an active singer in the Moab Community Chorus, taking part in early musicals, the Moab Music Festival and the annual performance of The Messiah. Twice she served as a board member of the Dan O'Laurie Museum of Moab and contributed articles to its publication, the Canyon Legacy.

Terby is survived by her beloved daughter and grandson, Terry Lan and Caleb Lewis of Carbondale, Colo. and by her good friend and constant companion, Bruni Mason of Moab. Another photo may be seen on the month of May page of the 2008 Cancer Survivors calendar in which Terby is shown pumping iron, a way she would like to be remembered.

The Valley Voices are planning a "Celebration of Life" for Terby in the near future.

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