W. Jay Barth
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W. Jay Barth
  • February 11, 1928 - December 10, 2017
  • Houston, Texas

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W Jay Barth was born on February 11, 1928 in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Having a tremendous work ethic from an early age, he went to work for the railroad while still in high school. In 1946, he volunteered for the United States Army and spent several years on active duty in Korea. Following his military service, he started college and spent two years at the University of Pittsburgh. While in school, he met the love of his life, Yvonne Patterson. They married and earlier this year, happily enjoyed celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.

After getting married, Jay went to work for Gulf Oil Corporation. Never afraid of a challenge, he spent a number of years working in Central and South America. By 1973, he transferred to Houston on a permanent basis. He had two sons, Todd and Dean. Despite the demands of a full-time job and a boisterous young family, Jay went to night school to finish his degree. He graduated from the University of Houston and became a Certified Public Accountant. Jay remained with Gulf Oil Corporation until his retirement in 1986. He retired as a director of EDP auditing. Not happy to sit still for long, Jay went back to work as an auditor at the University of Houston for several years, and following that, worked as an auditor at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

In his later years, Jay suffered from Parkinson's Disease, but he refused to let that slow him down. He successfully renewed his driver's license at age 85, visited the YMCA on a daily basis, and was well known at the local stores for his vibrant and engaging personality.

Above all, Jay was faithful to the things that he cared about. He gave his wife and sons unconditional love until the day he died. He was the type of father who not only went to his sons' baseball games, he volunteered to coach the teams as well. He spent many years at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church volunteering as a member of the vestry, working on the audit committee, and serving as an usher. He loved to watch the Steelers and Cougars play football. He spoke fondly of his time in the U.S. Army. The day before he died, he made sure he recorded the Army vs. Navy football game so he could watch it later. Army won so we know that makes him happy. Jay was also fond of poetry. He memorized numerous poems and could recite them from memory. Two weeks before he passed away, he recited all 6 verses of Lord Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade by memory.

Because he loved poetry so much, it is appropriate to end with one of his favorite poems that sums up his life. The poem is appropriately entitled, How Did You Die?

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble's a ton, or a trouble's an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it,
And it isn't the fact that you're hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?

How did he die? He died, as he lived, with a resolute heart and cheerful. His attitude towards life is what distinguished him from ordinary people. If he feared death, he certainly did not show it. It is safe to say he got the most out of his 89 years. He will be missed.

A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at St. Christopher Episcopal Church, 1656 Blalock, Houston, Texas.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson's Research.