OREGON - John Alfred Barger, age 89, passed away peacefully surrounded by his children on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020. John was born on May 6, 1931, to Alfred and Anne (Lamey) Barger. He was the oldest son and the fourth of eleven children: Mary, Helen, Evelyn, Emmett, Margaret, Lois, Kathleen, Edward, Roger, and Raymond. John's parents raised their large family on a dairy farm in Fisher Valley in the Town of Oregon, Wis. John was a farm boy during the days of milking cows by hand and working fields with a team of horses. He graduated from Oregon High School, class of 1949, as the Valedictorian. He went on to complete his sophomore year at UW-Madison, but left to join the military and serve during the Korean War.
John enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in September 1951. He was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Calif., as a radio/telegraph operator and routinely flew with a squad to deliver supplies to troops in the North Pacific. John's skillful practice of Morse Code was evident through the rest of his life. He was proud to have served in the Marine Corps and made lifelong friendships with several of his fellow Marines. John was honorably discharged with the rank of Staff Sergeant in September 1953.
Shortly after returning home to Oregon, John met the love of his life, Jeanne Ann Ochalla. John and Jeanne were married on June 16, 1956, in Madison, Wis. The couple settled down, on a farm in Oregon, where they lived for the rest of their lives. Together, they raised eight children: David, Theresa (Al Bentley), Linda (Ray Sislo), Allen (Cathy Cerman), Jane (Gary Troz), JoAnn (Dave Bowen), Kathleen (Roy Golz), and John (Karen) Barger. Throughout their upbringing, John instilled a strong work ethic and proud Irish heritage in his children. Over time, John and Jeanne welcomed twelve grandchildren: Janelle, Jessica, Dianna, Benjamin, Andy, Erin, Amy, Sam, Lee, Joe, Miranda, and Jayden; and then seven great-grandchildren: A'mya, Tristin, Nevin, Shaw, Eleny, Natalie and baby (Bowen) due in March 2021.
John had two simultaneous career paths for work: farming and sales distribution as a “route man”. After his military service, John worked on his parents’ dairy farm and also became a sales distributor with Nehi/Royal Crown Cola in Madison, for several years. In 1960, John and Jeanne bought their own farm, adjacent to John’s family homestead, where they raised Herford beef cattle for decades. John felt growing up on a farm was the best life - it taught him patience, humility and generosity. His parallel career as a route man took him into stores in the southern Wisconsin region, selling 7-Up soda pop products from 1956 to 1974, Hamm's beer products until 1977, and Brownberry Catherine Clark Bread products from 1977 to his retirement in 1998.
John was friends to many. He continued friendships with Oregon High School classmates at monthly and annual gatherings. He kept friendships with fellow route men, store owners, grocery store workers, and hometown cafe owners where John would stop on his route for lunch. In retirement, John was part of a coffee clutch of men from Oregon, who would gather to banter about events of the day. Every Sunday, John and Jeanne would gather for brunch with the "after church group" of friends.
John was a lifelong member of Holy Mother of Consolation Church in Oregon, and served as an alder and sung in the choir. He was a proud member of the American Legion, Brooklyn, Wis. John rejoined his Marine buddies on a Vets Roll bus trip where he reminisced and enjoyed veteran camaraderie while touring the war memorials of Washington D.C.
Through the years, John loved dancing, especially with his sweetheart of 63 years. John enjoyed watching Green Bay Packers football games and UW sports, gardening, picking blackberries and raspberries, riding his John Deere tractor and mowing with his John Deere riding tractor. John enjoyed strumming his guitar and singing his favorite country western tunes. He did enjoy family gatherings at Devil’s Lake and annual family campouts. John was thrilled to be surrounded by his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He had a lifelong love of photography, taking pictures as a farm boy, as a Marine in foreign countries, and as a family man with his wife, children and grandchildren during many family occasions. His passion and talent for photography is passed on to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
John is survived by his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his siblings: Helen Matthews, Lois Bradley, Kathleen Rowley, Edward Barger, and Roger Barger. John leaves behind additional family members , friends and his cat, Sari Sue. John's kindheartedness, sense of humor, quick wit, and infectious smile will be missed by all.
"Being a Marine was an honor. But my family was my greatest achievement." - John A. Barger
The Barger children would like to thank the staff of BeeHive Homes of Oregon and Mount Horeb for the loving care they gave our Dad. Thanks also goes out to the staff of Agrace HospiceCare.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at HOLY MOTHER OF CONSOLATION CATHOLIC CHURCH, 651 N. Main St., Oregon at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Family and friends who wish to view services Via LIVESTREAM may visit https://youtu.be/iQ5lR3VfyMY. Burial will follow at Storytown Cemetery. A visitation will be held at the church from 11:30 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Tuesday. Social distancing and face masks are required.
Memorial contributions will be donated to various charities in John's honor. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
John's Livestream Service will begin at 1 p.m. CST on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.
There are three ways to join the Live Webcast:
1. Scroll down to the Events, under the Livestream Service click on "Watch Event"
2. Click on tribute wall (above) and select "Watch Now"
3. Copy and paste URL into a web browser: https://youtu.be/iQ5lR3VfyMY
Funeral & Cremation Care
1150 Park St.
May 6, 1931 - November 11, 202005/06/193111/11/2020
John Alfred Barger
3 Trees have been planted in memory of John Barger.