CCGS has had no better friend than Paul Barden. Paul and Virginia were already members of CCGS when we joined in 1986. Their membership number (40) indicates that they joined at an early date. They were our first couple designated honorary life family members. This memorable presentation occurred at our 20th anniversary celebration in 1997.
In the early years, Paul’s participation consisted of helping Virginia with the research for the several books and articles published. He spent many hours visiting cemeteries reading, checking, then visiting the court house re checking records before the final product appeared. These works included Earliest Holland Land Company Sales, Cemetery and church records for the towns of Ripley and Westfield, Estate Inventories; later The Guide to Chautauqua County Cemeteries and Burial Sites, then Gleanings and Gleanings n, Cemeteries of the Town of Ripley, Phillips Cemetery, and more.
When Paul took over as Treasurer for CCGS, he decided to invest some of our funds and would play games with the “girls” at the bank to get the highest rate on a CD. His efforts gained several hundred, if not thousands, of dollars of extra income for our ventures. He held this position off and on for more than eight years and taught us how it should be done.
Some of us who were the lucky recipients of Paul’s daily phone calls would complain to him that all those stories of the wonderful grandchildren gave us a “numb ear,” but how we miss those calls and miss hearing about the exploits of the golf pro, the international banker, the Washington diplomat, the varsity basketball player, the computer chip tycoon. Forget the ancestors, this is a great group of descendants that Paul and Virginia have produced.
Because of Paul’s love for silver, we learned a lot about local families from his silver collection; He dreamed up and sponsored our very successful “Cow Jumped Over the Moon” contest in 1998. Last year, our library holdings were increased by more than one hundred books from the Barden Collection. Several dozen other books from this valuable collection were given by the Barden’s to the County Historian.
The World, CCGS, You and I, had no better friend that Paul Barden. We miss you Paul.