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Robert Kim Barringer



Memorial Contributions to:

Special Olympics Area-11

1239 76th St SW, Suite E

Byron Center, MI 49315

Robert “Kim” Barringer, age 70, of Grand Rapids, passed away on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 – the day the world lost one of the good ones. Kim was born in Kalamazoo to Bob and Jean Barringer, the eldest of three children. After graduating and earning a master’s degree in special education from Western Michigan University, Kim went on to teach special needs children in White Cloud.  He later taught in Sparta Schools retiring after teaching for 35 years. As a young adult, Kim spent time traveling through Europe and back-packing through the Western United States. Adventure was always part of Kim’s life. In 1982, Kim met his soulmate, Maureen Shada.  He knew the first time he met Maureen that he was going to marry her – and that he did in 1984. Kim loved to hike and enjoyed many other outdoor activities such as downhill skiing, golf and riding his beloved Harley-Davidson. Kim made friends wherever he went and had a heart that was so loving and kind, especially to those in need. For years, Kim volunteered for Special Olympics and was a coach for downhill adult skiers. After Kim retired from Sparta Schools, he volunteered at Hope Network. Kim and Maureen enjoyed spending winters in Green Valley, Arizona and cherished the friends and memories made during those years. Kim was known for raising incredible Bonsai trees and his lovely blooming gardens as well as creating stained glass masterpieces. Kim is now golfing in heaven with his dad, Bob, and chauffeuring his mother-in-law, Grayce  Shada, on vacations in heaven. Kim is survived by his wife and love, Maureen; and son Jason.  He is also survived by his mother, Jean; sisters, Kristi (Denny) LeFleur and Kairi (Rob) Hokenmaier; sisters-in-law, Sharon Murphy and Mary Jo (Dean) Towns; brother-in-law, Rocky (Mary Lou) Shada; nieces, Mikelyn and Ali Hokenmaier and Deanna Becker; nephews, Matt and Mike LaFleur; and his best four-legged friend, Festus.  Kim will be missed by the many, many friends whom he cherished. A memorial service is planned for Sunday, January 27 at 12:30 PM at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd SE,  Grand Rapids with visitation one hour prior to the service. Deacon Jerry Roersma officiating. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. Memorial contributions in Kim’s memory may be made to Special Olympics Area-11, 1239 76th St SW, Suite E, Byron Center, MI 49315.


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2 Responses

  1. I am so sorry. Kim would come to the library at the Middle School to work and we would chat about skiing. I remember he was so patient with his students. A lovely man….
    Ann Hahn
    Sparta High School

  2. Maureen & Family,
    Greetings and condolences from Florida. Debbie and I were saddened to hear through MaryCay of Kim’s passing. He was quite an interesting individual.

    We first met Kim in 1982 while he and I worked in nearby school districts in Newaygo County. We were all attending a payday happy hour at Cooper’s Inn. Kim strolled in with his huge afro, sat down and began telling humorous stories about his recent transgressions. Our favorite was about self-medicating a recent bout of terrible heartburn. Seeking a home remedy, he recalled that baking soda could relieve his pain. In mixing the concoction, however, he measured in tablespoons rather than teaspoons with agonizing results. He was quite the raconteur.

    We crossed paths again in 1989 when I was hired into Sparta Schools. During my lunch time wanderings, I was often invited into his class to visit and interact with his students. Kim had very clear expectations for classroom behavior. During one of my visits, a sweet young boy named Michael wasn’t quite meeting these requirements. After the second redirection, Michael sheepishly smiled at me. I quietly asked him if he enjoyed pushing Mr. Barringer’s buttons. He looked me in the eye, smiled and said, “It’s nice to know he cares about me.” What a powerful tribute.

    He will be missed! We send our thoughts and prayers to ya’ll.

    Rick & Debbie

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