This article was originally published in the March-April 1997 issue of MAGazine.
Next time you walk by the Gallery’s front entrance, or look out onto the Penguin Garden from the Gill Center, think of MAG volunteer Bill Barry. Last season, until the snowfall put an end to his labors, the retired systems analyst could often be seen ankle-deep in pachysandra in front of the Gallery. Two days a week, ten hours a day, Barry pulled weeds, trimmed and edged walkways, and watered plantings.
“If I had a lot of money,” says Barry, “I’d make a donation to the Gallery. Since I don’t, this is my way of saying thank you for many years of pleasure.”
Barry comes by his love of gardening naturally. As a high school and college student, he worked summers and vacations for his father, a landscape contractor. And today, says Barry with a laugh, “I guess I would consider myself a professional weed-puller.”
The Gallery is not the only beneficiary of Barry’s largess. He helped put in a vegetable garden at the Heritage Christian Home, and he works frequently in the supper program at Blessed Sacrament Church. But he keeps coming back to the Gallery, where he’s a regular at the weekly Viewpoints lectures.
“I feel great after I leave, when I can see the results of what I’ve done,” he says. And he’s highly complimentary of what he terms “a tremendous group of people who work at the Gallery.” In particular, he commends MAG facilities manager Jim Smith, whom he calls “a super person to work with and for.”
Smith, in turn, has nothing but compliments for Barry. “The benefit of Bill’s work goes beyond the tangible improvements in our gardens. He’s an inspiration to all of us on staff.”