Cover photo for Clo Barnaby's Obituary
Clo Barnaby Profile Photo
1934 Clo Barnaby 2023

Clo Barnaby

June 2, 1934 — February 17, 2023

Albuquerque, NM

Clo was born under a wandering star. Born in Melrose, Iowa, her deepest memories of growing up were of a largely unsupervised, almost feral life on a dairy farm near Bozeman, Montana where the family finally settled. What kept Clo from getting into too much trouble were the deep bonds of affection and respect that were at the heart of her relationships with her eight siblings. Particularly close to the two sisters who were just older and just younger, she always cherished how the older siblings included them all in the fun of the wild west that Montana still was in the 40s and 50s. She returned to Montana after a short stint in Lacrosse, Wisconsin where she attended Nurses College. She was working as a nurse in Helena, Montana, when, as chance would have it, a friend recruited her to be the blind date for one Bruce Barnaby, who was making just a short stop in Helena on his way back to graduate school. For reasons she could never explain, the first thing she said to Bruce was that she wanted to see his wallet. After having convinced Clo to call in sick to the midnight shift at the hospital so that they could keep the party going at a dance-hall on Last Chance Gulch, Bruce told her in the wee hours of the morning that he wanted to marry her. When she told him he probably had had too much drink, Bruce agreed, but said he still wanted to marry her. Clo knew a good thing when she saw it (luckily for their future children), and they married three months later. Through the trials and tribulations of life (including the deaths of two children), they were together for 61 years. After periods of living in Indiana and California, they moved their growing family (five kids with a sixth on the way) to New Mexico, eventually settling in Albuquerque. If Clos restless spirit took up residence in one place (she lived in her beloved Albuquerque for over fifty years), it showed itself anew in her near obsession with learning: she took dozens of classes at and received various degrees from the University of Albuquerque, the University of New Mexico, and St. Johns College in Santa Fe. Education was what Clo most cared about regarding her children, who were in many ways almost as feral as Clo was herself—a life-orientation she did nothing to discourage. Clo was a loving mother, but very hands-off because she wanted her children to find their own paths in life. Clo was forward thinking and a meticulous planner, a habit that showed in the many parties she hosted usually featuring Irish folk music.  She learned to play the bodhran, a type of Irish drum.  She took great interest in policies affecting women and children, and she closely followed political and governmental movements in this topic.  She never missed voting in elections at any level. When the end came for her in mid-February, an advanced cancer she was not going to defeat, Clo showed the strength of spirit and hardy realism that had served her well over her eighty-eight years: she accepted the cards she had been dealt and decided to forego death-delaying treatment. She died peacefully at the home of her youngest son on a lovely afternoon in Tempe, Arizona, serenaded into death by the Irish songs she so loved. She will be missed.  Instead of flowers, Clo would request a donation to her latest charity, St. Mary’s Food Bank, 2831 N. 31st Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85009, (602) 242-FOOD (3663).

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