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March 5, 1937 - June 18, 2022
Thomas Robert (“Bob”) Barnabee, Jr., 85, passed away Saturday, June 18, 2022, at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, Minnesota, surrounded by his family. He was born March 5, 1937, to Thomas and Ferne (Brocklehurst) Barnabee in Canton, Illinois, the oldest of three children.
Bob is survived by Constance (Gibb) Barnabee, his loving wife of 51 years, as well as by his children Randall Barnabee (Christine), Brian Barnabee (Rosalyn), and Craig Barnabee (Jennifer), his grandchildren, Rachel, Robert, and Matthew, and his great-grandchildren, Chase, Levi, Leonardo, and Liam.
Bob grew up in Farmington, IL, and attended Bradley University in Peoria, IL. Although he worked for a short time at the FBI in Washington, D.C., and later as an insurance adjuster outside Chicago, IL, his true passion was music. He played the accordion and performed as part of the award-winning Arlingtones a cappella chorus and a barbershop quartet. However, he made music part of his full-time occupation when he became a renowned, itinerate square dance caller. This unique job took him all around the country and even to Japan, where he inspired square-dance lovers on the other side of the world. In retirement, Bob continued to feed his musical passion by performing as part of the North Shore Voices and the Lake Superior Community Theatre.
Aside from work and family, Bob was a volunteer fireman and supported many charitable organizations. He was also a great story teller and nature lover. He planted countless trees on the properties he and Connie shared near Grand Marais and in Finland, MN. In this way, he truly left the earth more beautiful than he found it.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Sandra Strappe, and his brother, David Barnabee.