Cover photo for Kenneth E. Barrera's Obituary
Kenneth E. Barrera Profile Photo

Kenneth E. Barrera

July 22, 1938 — May 29, 2023


Kenneth E. Barrera

Click  here  for the Recording of Ken's Mass.

Kenneth E. Barrera of Plymouth, Minnesota, passed away at age 84 following a courageous, yet all too brief battle with cardiac amyloidosis. A devoted husband, father, and grandad, Ken was known for his abiding love of family, gentle grace and wisdom, and a generous commitment to hard work, especially for his family and the communities he loved.

Born in 1938 to Gwendolen Jones, M.D. and S. Eugene Barrera, M.D., the youngest of three children, Ken was raised in New York City and attended Collegiate School. From an early age, he learned to value academics, athletics, service, and leadership. Summers were spent visiting family, especially his aunt, uncle, and cousins at the family farm in Pennsylvania. By the end of high school, Ken could navigate Manhattan transit, drive a milk truck on country roads, and take a turn on the dance floor. The last of these proved most important – for Ken met Alice, the love of his life, at a winter dance. The high school sweethearts would marry a few years later and share over 62 years of wedded bliss together.

Ken went on to complete his BS and MBA at Cornell University, followed by a respected career in accounting, finance, and management. A certified public accountant by training, Ken worked for accounting firms and manufacturing groups. When he retired in 2003, he was the chief financial officer and treasurer for Comair Rotron’s multinational holdings.
Ken and Alice raised their seven children in New York, New Jersey, and California – enabling each to find joy in family, school, sports, and leadership. Ken loved his family and gave of his time in volunteer roles to support them. He served as a BSA Scoutmaster, coached numerous Little League baseball teams, youth soccer and basketball, and cheered for his children in countless cross country and track races, music performances, and award ceremonies. And while his own kids were the motivation, countless others benefitted from his leadership and encouragement. When Ken served as Freehold Township Little League board member and baseball manager for many years, his teams were recognized for their mastery of the fundamentals and always solid defensive play.

In retirement, Ken’s love of family extended to genealogy and travel. He compiled extensive family trees of his extended family with thousands of entries. And his efforts prompted various branches to gather for family reunions in the United States, Wales, and Ireland. During a family trip to Ireland in 2011, Ken was named Uachtaran of the Downing clan in recognition of his efforts to bring the relatives together – a great honor considering he was welcomed to the Downings by marriage.

Ken and Alice moved to Minnesota in 2014 and then joined the Trillium Woods Senior Living community in 2015. Unsurprisingly, Ken shared his leadership and financial skills as treasurer of the Resident Association and contributed to several different volunteer efforts at Trillium Woods, offering his dry wit and kindness, his diplomacy and sense of calm, and his logical approach to organization and problem solving.

Of late, Ken’s faith and determination were most visible. Ken was a devoted companion and regularly attended Mass with Alice – whether at St. Mary of the Lake Catholic Church or online in parishes around the world when the pandemic limited their outings. He was formally received into the Catholic Church and completed his sacraments just recently. Ken was a lifelong fan of the Dodgers (first Brooklyn, then LA) and followed the team even from his hospital bed as he stepped up to the plate against cardiac amyloidosis.

Ken will be greatly missed by all who loved him, but most especially by Alice, his beloved wife and partner in life. She is joined by their seven grateful children – Michael (Denise), Tim (Cherokee), John, Gwen (John), Christopher (Cheryl), Kathleen (Martin), and Kevin (Samantha) – and eight grandchildren – Gregory (Judy), Cecily, Allison, Elizabeth, Carolyn, Jonathan, Jane, and Vivienne. Ken is also survived by his sister, Gwenith, first cousins Tom (Tiz), Michael (Virginia), and Henry, and their families. He is preceded in death by his parents, sister Caroline, brother-in-law Harry, brother-in-law Barry, aunt and uncle Carolyn and Sam, and cousins Peggy and Kay.

The family invites you to join in remembrance and celebration of Ken’s life with a visitation from 3 to 5 pm on Tuesday, June 13 at Gearty-Delmore Plymouth Chapel, 15800 37th Ave N (@Vicksburg Lane), with a Prayer Service at 4:30.  Mass of Christian Burial 11:00 AM Wednesday, June 14 at the Church of St. Mary of the Lake, 105 N. Forestview Lane, Plymouth, with visitation one hour prior to Mass.

Memorials are preferred to St. Mary of the Lake Church or to the Trillium Woods Scholarship Fund.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kenneth E. Barrera, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Central time)

The Church of St. Mary of the Lake

105 Forestview Lane North, Plymouth, MN 55441

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