Life Story / Obituary
Stanley W. Barrett was an outgoing person, a loving parent and a true friend. He readily approached strangers and made them feel welcome. He accepted people as they were and sought out the good in everyone. His easy-going nature allowed his children to thrive, and his sense of humor created laughter that seasoned his life with joy.
Stanley’s story began as the United States was trying to recover from economic depression, and Americans were eager to build an economy that benefited all citizens. They sought stability as political matters were stirring in Europe and took inspiration from President Franklin Roosevelt’s Fireside Chats. Families gathered around the radio to listen to news, sports and popular music of the day—swing.
Stanley Wayne was born March 26, 1938 in Grand Rapids, Michigan to Clarence and Velma (Andrews) Barrett. Being the eighth of nine children, Stanley had older brothers who served in the military during WWII, and he considered them heroes (which they were). Stanley grew up at the busy intersection of 44th Street and Division Avenue and had many playmates. Though they participated in their share of mischief, Stanley seemed to be the steady person of the group and kept everyone else grounded. Music and dance became his focus. After graduating from Kelloggsville High School, Stan took a job at a record store and was surrounded by all types of music that made him the well-rounded person he was.
Stanley met his future wife, Johanna Lauzon, through mutual school friends. The two married in 1958 and honeymooned in Niagara Falls before settling into family life that was enriched by three children. Stan supported the family through his work at Canteen Vending, and for several winters he operated a snow removal service. Because he worked second shift or had to plow during the night, Stan saw very little of his kids during the week, but he made up for it on weekends and summer vacations. He spent hours playing catch in the backyard and taught Cindy, Christine and "Skip" how to pitch. As a family, they took an annual trip with their camper and headed to various destinations throughout the U.S. Stan was in his element planning, driving, setting up camp, fishing and walking along park trails. Not only did he relish time away with his family, he liked meeting and talking with people from all walks of life and many locations across the country.
Stan was truly a people-person, which was one of the reasons he enjoyed his job so much and stayed with the business until retirement. His coworkers and the customers he met were a constant source of conversation and information. One of the perks of the job was that he was sometimes able to take one of his children along on his route. Those opportunities were memorable for both Stan and his children.
At home, Stan got his hands dirty in the garden that at times the whole family helped to maintain, especially when the raspberries and concord grapes needed harvesting. He was also very handy around the house—fixing items, finishing the basement or helping friends with their projects. He and some friends attempted to build a dune buggy, but it never made it to the sand. Always in the back of his mind, Stan had the desire to fix up an old farm house and start working the farm. He even purchased the land, but life took a change when his marriage ended after 23 years. Still, Stan maintained a good relationship with his children and swelled with pride at their accomplishments.
Stan kept a busy social calendar with friends and family. He always enjoyed going to parties and BBQs as well as the Barrett family reunions that were held in nearby Spring Lake. He liked to bowl, play cards and softball, and later in life he became a golfer. When he met Mary Adrianse along his work route, Stan began dating again. Together, their social activities only increased, and when they married they took advantage of recreation everywhere they went. On a trip to visit Stan’s daughter in Texas, they liked what the Harlingen area had to offer and moved there in 1989. He started a home repair business and maintained apartments, and the two of them gladly welcomed his siblings who came for a visit. Stan and Mary were able to do some traveling, but they were also content to be at home where he could meet up with friends for coffee and donuts. For many years, Stan took pleasure in reading westerns and political thrillers, and throughout his life, he listened to music from the 1930s to the 80s, taking in the rich variety of sound from classical music to big band swing, jazz, blues and pop.
Around 2006, Stan suffered his first stroke and two years later his beloved Mary passed away. He was able to stay in his home with the watchful care of good friends and neighbors. More recently, it became evident that he needed additional support, so he moved back to Grand Rapids to be closer to his children. Stan settled into a new home that allowed him to keep his dog Daisy. In fact, he had several dogs over the last years and named all of them “Daisy” whether they were male or female. Daisy was a great companion, but as Stan’s health declined he became more frustrated with his limitations. Still, his loving family was nearby and that made all the difference.
Stanley W. Barrett, age 77 of Grand Rapids, Michigan and formerly of Harlingen, Texas, passed away Tuesday, December 15, 2015. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary; brothers Lionel, Raymond, Melvin and Floyd Barrett. Stan is survived by his children: Cindy (Chuck) Powers, Christine (Donald) Barrett-Miller, Stanley Jr "Skip" (Marygray Slawson) Barrett; grandchildren Malista Powers, Malinda (Bill) Powers-Milhiem, Maranda (Jon) Powers-Chambers, Alice and Ben Miller, Bailey Barrett; great grandchildren Jaiden Powers, Ella, Celia and Owen; stepchildren; brother, Ernie; sisters Velma, Grace and Dorothy as well as many nieces and nephews. The service to remember and celebrate Stan's life will be held on Friday, December 18 at 2 PM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home - Van't Hof Chapel, 851 Leonard NW where friends may visit with his family from 1 PM until the service and for a time immediately following the service. Memorial contributions to a charity of one's choice are appreciated. To read more about his life, to share a favorite memory or to sign his guestbook, visit lifestorynet.com.