- Published: June 9, 2011
Sandy Barcus died at home in Cleveland on May 31 after a brief illness. He was 97.
The son of immigrants from Eastern Europe who fled anti-Semitism, Sandy was a man with a passion for life and learning as big as the outdoors — and it was the outdoors that posed a constant lure. A master gardener, he tended numerous gardens, beginning with a Victory Garden during WWII and then at each home where he and his wife, Evel, lived, even borrowing land from friends or using community gardens to expand his harvest. His gardens were fastidiously neat and bountiful, and he loved giving away his enormous tomatoes and fresh-picked sweet corn to friends and family. All four of his children inherited his green thumb and are avid gardeners.
A die-hard Indians and Browns fan, he attended both the first and last Indians baseball games played at Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. He was also a fitness fanatic — working out three days a week for more than 50 years and was an avid golfer, tennis player and runner. He ice skated with the Elysium Skating Club into his ‘90s.
As his four children left home for college, he began writing them weekly letters detailing his life, interests and activities. He composed them on his beloved 1935 Royal typewriter, using carbon paper for the copies. He kept up the tradition for more than 35 years.
A lover of classical music and well-presented lectures, he and his wife traveled the world, then regaled their friends with keenly observed travelogues. He drove each summer to Chautauqua, N.Y. and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario for lectures and plays, and to Florida each winter to visit snow-bird friends. His last trip was at 96, driving with his wife to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.
Combining his love of nature with family, he initiated an annual fall hike in 1951 that drew family and friends from across the country each October to bushwhack in the colorful autumn woods. He never met a tree he didn’t like.
Sandy fell in love with Yellow Springs in 1961 when his eldest daughter began studies at Antioch College. Over the years his son and daughter-in-law moved here and Sandy brought friends and family to see the village he found charming and unique.
Sandy is survived by his wife of 70 years, Evel, daughter Judy and her husband Mike Feinstein of Troy, Ohio, daughter Jane and her husband Mark Sedley of Lafayette, Calif., son Bob and his wife Aida Merhemic of Yellow Springs and Ken and his wife Ellen of Cleveland Heights. Also remembering him are seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Tecumseh Land Trust, P.O. Box 417, Yellow Springs, OH 45387.