Cover photo for Mark D. Barnhill's Obituary
Mark D. Barnhill Profile Photo

Mark D. Barnhill

March 4, 1933 — April 24, 2019

Mark D. Barnhill, 86, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Pemberville, Ohio. Mark is survived by his loving wife Barbara, sister Carolyn Gorsuch, daughter Chandra (Ken) Fuss, daughter Andrea, son Bruce (Linda), daughter Belinda (Steve) Bengry, grandchildren Loren Vaughn, Hunter, Logan, and Madeline Barnhill, Rebecca Fuss, Parker and Tyler Bengry, and great grandchildren Nolan, Aiden, and Raeleigh.
Mark, born in Lakewood, Ohio on March 4, 1933, and a graduate of Bowling Green State University, made his home in Texas, Washington, Alaska, Utah, California, Thailand, Dayton, Ohio, Turkey, Missouri, New Concord, Ohio, and then lived his last 35 years at Put-in-Bay, Ohio, wintering in Wilmington, NC.
Mark was a devoted man of action and service. He voluntarily and eagerly served the country he loved for 20 years as an officer in the US Air Force, and another 9 years working for the FAA. He followed in the footsteps of his father, Clarence, and became an aviator at a very young age, beginning his Air Force career as a navigator on the C-124. He loved all things aviation and he was unable to keep from looking up at any plane flying overhead to determine what it was and where it was likely heading.
Mark retired from the USAF in November 1975 as a Lt. Col, and from the FAA in 1985, but rather than embracing traditional retirement, he continued working the rest of his life tirelessly and diligently on the family farm, Bed and Breakfast, and vineyard at Put-in-Bay. In 1976, knowing nothing about the fine art of growing grapes and vineyard operations, he decided to bring the 6 acre vineyard, left wild for the previous twenty plus years, back to producing a crop. With years of hard work, cheap labor from family and friends, and a great deal of guidance from other local growers and especially Louis Heinemann, the vineyard was restored to its former glory days as an E & K Winery vineyard, owned and operated by wife Barbi’s grandparents and parents. During this time Mark and Barbi also turned the family home into the first B&B on the island, pouring themselves into hosting guests for 35 years.
Mark loved barbershop music, singing in quartets all his life, and helped to promote, maintain, and participate in all the various barbershop events at Put-in-Bay. He took his singing talents on the road as well, travelling with quartets internationally and taking a quartet around Wilmington, NC, on Valentine’s Day to sing and lift the spirits of the ladies in area Nursing homes.
Mark was an athlete, finding great joy in playing, coaching, and watching sports. Unfortunately, as a lifelong Cleveland sports fan, he did not find quite as much joy as a spectator. He especially loved to play softball and volleyball. Mark competed in the Senior Games from the age of 50, winning dozens of medals at the local, state, and national level over the years, and taking great pride that his 80 year old volleyball team received the Gold medal at the 2013 National Senior Games as the only 80+ team entered, and then competed in those same games and won the Silver medal against all the youngsters in the 76+ division.
Mark will be greatly missed by his loving family, his BGSU Phi Tau friends, the Put-in-Bay American Legion and softball/volleyball teams, the Barbershop community, and so many others he befriended and served over the years. The raccoon population at East Point will not be missing him.
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