Norman O. Barres
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Norman O. Barres
  • January 8, 1930 - July 28, 2017
  • Nelson, New Hampshire

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Norm Barres, 87, of Nelson, NH, died on July 28, 2017, in Keene, NH, after a brief illness. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Nancy.

Norm and Nancy found their dream retirement home in Nelson, NH, in 1995 and spent their time working on the house, cultivating beautiful gardens and creating a wonderful community of friends and neighbors. They spent some winters in Florida. Norm was an active member of the Nelson Congregational Church for many years.

Norm dedicated his life to Goodwill and its mission of helping individuals with disabilities and other barriers to achieve independence and dignity through work. Norm is a legend in the Goodwill movement.

Norm started with Goodwill at an early age. Born in Boston and raised in Watertown, MA, he was baptized by Goodwill's founder, Rev. Edgar J. Helms. Both Norm's mother and father worked for Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries in Boston and, as a child, Norm tagged along. Norm's studies at Boston University were interrupted by the Korean War and he served the Air Force in Greenland. On his return, he completed his bachelor's and master's degrees in marketing at Boston University. He and Joanne Straley married in 1956 while he was in school (they later divorced).

With the dream of someday leading a Goodwill organization, he entered the Goodwill Industries of America executive training program and moved his family to Memphis and then Atlanta. In 1960 he returned to Boston to work for Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries.

In 1970, Norm took the helm of the Philadelphia Goodwill and moved on to the Bridgeport, CT, Goodwill in 1977. When Norm retired in 1996, he left a thriving Goodwill. In addition to his executive responsibilities, Norm mentored over two dozen future Goodwill executives, many of whom have had a lasting impact on the Goodwill movement.

In 1978, in the chapel of the Bridgeport Goodwill, Norm and Nancy Fraser were married by a Vice President of Goodwill Industries of America. Nancy was a talented Goodwill executive who also dedicated her life to the organization and its mission.

Norm was recognized for his achievements in Goodwill with every major Goodwill award and in 2003 was inducted into the Goodwill Hall of Fame.

After his retirement, Norm continued to support Goodwill by stepping in as interim CEO for several Goodwills across the country and by serving as the Coordinator for the North East Regional Association of Goodwills. Norm also served as a surveyor for the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and helped start the first rehabilitation program in the Ukraine.

In 2008, Steve Mundahl's Keep the Faith: A Life of Goodwill was published, chronicling Norm's life and contributions to Goodwill. Norm was a kind and humble man who connected to people on all levels. He had a deep and abiding commitment to the Goodwill mission. He will be remembered most for his simple, yet powerful affirmation 'Keep the Faith.'

Norm loved cars, trucks, trains, boats and Harley Davidson motorcycles. He spent his spare time tinkering with his vehicles - his cars were always meticulously maintained and he learned to scuba dive so he could clean the bottom of his boat. He collected grandfather clocks, watches, and other timepieces and his home sounded on the hour. He was intrigued by gadgets and would have multiples of any item that caught his attention. He was an adventurous eater, loved to go to restaurants and had a penchant for ice cream.

Norm and Nancy traveled to Spain, Italy, Morocco, Austria, and the Ukraine. They visited Goodwills all over the US and spent time in all but 4 states.

Norm is survived by his three daughters: Kimberlee Scott (and her husband Steven) of West Wareham, MA, Leslie Anderson of Boxboro, MA, and Pamela Fusco of Nashua, NH as well as by Nancy's children Karen (and her husband Paul) Jodoin of Lynnfield, MA, and Gary Fraser of Rowley, MA. He is also survived by his grandchildren Jessica Scott; Lindsay Anderson Keating; Benjamin Anderson; Stephanie, Robert, Molly and Emily Kepner; Samuel Fusco; Hayley and Lindsay Jodoin; and Heather and Daria Fraser.

A Service to celebrate Norm's life will be held at the Nelson Congregational Church, 830 Nelson Road, Nelson, NH 03457 on Friday, August 4 at 2 pm. The FLETCHER FUNERAL HOME, Keene, NH is assisting the family with arrangements. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in his memory to the Nelson Congregational, Church Equal Access Lift campaign at the address above.