"I personally treasured his visits and always tried to discover a tidbit of news to share — although there wasn't much to which he wasn't privy first," Elissa Strati, owner of Avenue Antiques, said in an email.
In recent years, Mr. Barr moved from a bad living arrangement in an apartment on The Avenue to a senior citizen high-rise on Roland Avenue. He soon collected the addresses and birthdays of all the residents and began sending them cards on their birthdays, Mrs. Stevenson said.
Mr. Barr also managed to ride a shuttle bus to the Avenue twice a week. When the Red Men's Hall in Hampden was being sold earlier this year, Mr. Barr, a former member of the fraternal organization, was not surprised, but wanted to know what the plans for the building were.
"I'll find out," he told a reporter.
He broke his hip earlier this year and Mrs. Stevenson moved him to Manor Care, where he could be with a longtime friend, whom he had visited often over the years. By the time he came to live, everyone already knew him, Mrs. Stevenson said.
A few weeks ago, he suffered a mild heart attack, compounded by an infection, Mrs. Stevenson said.
She said a memorial event will be held at Cafe Hon, 1002 W. 36th St. on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 5:30-7:30 p.m. with Mr. Barr's favorite foods served. There will be no funeral services, because Mr. Barr expressed a desire to be cremated. Initially, he suggested his ashes sit in a prominent spot at Cafe Hon, so that he could watch the comings and goings, Mrs. Stevenson said. But he decided more realistically to have his ashes released in Hampden and Wyman Park.
"He said, 'Spread me around the neighborhood that I love."
Mr. Barr was notable in his absence this past year.
"He will be missed," said Mrs. Ghinger. "He has been missed."