Obituary of James E. Barrett
Rensselaer- James Edmund Barrett of Rensselaer died December 23, 2023, after a period of declining health. He was born in Albany on December 28, 1946, the second child of John A. and Elizabeth Hawk Barrett.
Jim graduated from St. John's Academy, in Rensselaer, a proud member of the Class of ‘64, Hudson Valley Community College, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a Master of Architecture degree. His work followed his interests: architecture, but also carpentry, ultra-light aircraft, and wooden boat building. He finished his work-years as the Field Architect for "The Big Dig" in Boston where he retired in 2014 after a 20-year career. He then returned to his family in Rensselaer.
Jim was a man with simple tastes - except when it came to boats - wooden boats. He built two and owned two others, most recently his Devlin designed "Czarinna", which he cruised on the Hudson River and nearby canals as had his grandfather and great grandfather. All were beautiful boats that he was very proud to own.
Jim had many talents: he was a pilot at 19, an artist, an excellent writer, a musician, played guitar and sang at our weddings, enjoyed crossword puzzles, and had a quick wit with a knack for just the right comment at just the right time.
Most of all Jim was a brother and friend to all of us, helping each of us in many ways, sometimes even rescuing us - that's not too strong a word. He had the wanderlust - crossing the country over 40 times and hitchhiking through Europe in the 70’s. After he retired, he came back home to us where we were able to return his love and help him as his health declined.
Rockabye, Sweet Baby James.
He leaves behind his brother, John (Joanne) Barrett, and sisters Kate Kent, Nancy Barrett, and Sharon Campbell; three cousins: Edmund DiDonna, Lisa (Chuck) McGrail, and William (Sissy) Hess; ten nieces and nephews: Jennifer (Christopher), Daniel (Tammy), Liam (Sarah), and Sean (Maria) Barrett; Brian Kent and Laura (Michael) Dalton; Amelia and Charlotte Ellis; Graham and Shannon Campbell; grand nieces and nephews: Mattias Kailing, Addison and Kealey Barrett, Jackson Barrett, Eden, Madeline, Clara, and William Dalton, and Colin Gamello and many special friends. Besides his parents he was recently and sadly predeceased by his nephew Holden Barrett Ellis, his Aunt Mary Ellen Barrett, and his brother-in-law and singing partner Colin Campbell.
The Barrett family welcomes friends to visit us at the W.J. Lyons Jr. Funeral Home, 1700 Washington Avenue, Rensselaer, on Saturday, December 30, 2023 from 2pm to 3:30pm with a service at 3:30pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Epilepsy Foundation or charity of your choice in honor of Jim.
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