In Memory of Barney Schwind

Barney Schwind is dead: the man known across the Toledo area as “The TV Repair Man.” He wasn’t known to me as that. I called him “Papa.”

Saturday night, October 5, Papa passed on. For years, we watched him lose weight, lose his appetite. We watched him physically shrink, the man he used to be shed like clothing on the floor. Yet, despite old age and dementia, he was still Papa, who loved gin and tonics, always had Tic Tacs in his pocket, and did magic tricks with pieces of tissue paper.

Barney Schwind and Sara Dobie BauerPapa never lost his spark. He still yelled, “Sara, baby!” every time I called the house. He still made bad jokes, and I still laughed. He still jokingly held blankets to the side of his face every Christmas and sucked his thumb like a little kid. Despite the dwindling physicality—the mind that forgot my husband’s name—he was still Papa. And we didn’t love him any less.

He’s gone now. He died Saturday night after a huge, Papa yawn. We, as family, are left with many memories of this great man who wore gold chain necklaces on the beaches of Long Boat Key; who visited the Jagermeister tent at the German American Fest to hit on chicks; and who kissed me on the cheek each time I arrived and left his house on Walnut Street.

My family has lost our patriarch; my grandmother has lost her husband. Perrysburg, you’ve lost Barney Schwind. You were lucky to have him for so long.

Papa taught me how to be an optimist every day. He taught me how to have a smile for everyone. He taught me how to love unconditionally—and love eternally. He will be greatly missed … but in a way, I feel like he’s still here, giving me a big Papa hug and telling me he’ll always be close.

(Thanks to the Perrysburg Messenger Journal.)

9 thoughts on “In Memory of Barney Schwind

  1. That was a lovely tribute to Barney. Did you know he was the first person to introduce me to the BK Whopper? I will miss me dearly.

  2. Sara, I’m so sorry for your and your family’s loss. My grandparents were huge in my life, and I still think of one or another or all of them every day. No doubt your Papa would’ve loved this sweet tribute. (I found your blog through Out on a Limb.)

  3. That is a lovely pic of you two. Letting go is always so hard. My condolences to you and your family. And anyone who introduces a hamburger to someone has got to be a joy to be around- just sayin’!

  4. Sara……..sorry to hear about Barney. He was my Dad’s cousin (Edwin Haas) and my one of my earliest memories in Perrysburg was Barney trouble- shooting our ONE and ONLY TV one day after Mass at St Rose (circa 1962.)

    When I read the PB Mess Journal Obit I was surprised to learn at 58 yo that Marge Kennedy was his sister.. My mother dearly loved Marge and later in life went to go dig gooey duck claims with her in Wash. I called Marge today…..never met the woman in person but she is awesome on the phone……she sounds full of life the same way you describe Papa;

    RIP Barney…….. Perrysburg is a great place to have lived life………

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