Gerrie Barnard wife, mother, friend, neighbor, gardener, healer, gold prospector, passed away March 3, 1999, as a result of a brain tumor. Gerrie was a true “Luddite” who shunned computer technology. She loved old machinery, especially farm machinery, and was an active member of the Hunterville, NC, Power of the Past Club.
For the four years just prior to her illness she worked as a tour guide at Reed Gold Mine Historic Site located at the site of the first gold discovery in the United States. She loved the mine, and loved explaining all aspects of gold mining to visitors. Her tours always went beyond the “canned” script which every guide had to give. She spent many hours studying gold mining, especially, gold mining in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. She also spent many hours hunting for gold.
Her favorite operation at Reed was the stamp mill, which was built in Charlotte, NC, just before the turn of the century. The mill was used to crush ore from the mine to aid in gold extraction. She marveled at what the miners accomplished without modern electronics. She made sure that every school child that visited the stamp mill knew that it was constructed entirely of wood, iron, and leather. There is no plastic or electronics involved. It operated on steam, not electricity.
For most of the 26 years that she and her husband, George, owned their 49 Farmall H, it was “his Farmall”, especially if it failed when needed to plow her garden. After it was restored to showroom quality in 1997, she always referred to it as “my H”. She looked forward each summer to spending most of the week of July 4 at the Southeast Threshers’ Reunion, Denton, NC, where she loved to see all the early farm machinery, and visit the exhibits and demonstrations of early life on the farm.
In late July 1998, just prior to the onset of her terminal illness, Gerrie, and George went to Florence, Ontario, to retrieve a windmill from their land (a part of his mother’s family farm.) When it was unloaded at their home in Concord, NC, she could not wait to start work on it to restore it. She loved to watch windmills turning in the breeze. She marveled at the technology involved in harnessing wind power. Unfortunately, her illness interfered.
A series of illnesses during her adult life, that seemed beyond help by conventional medicine, led to her study of alternative healing techniques. She became quite skilled as a healer. There are neighbors mourning her passing who are fully functional today because of her compassion and aid. She infrequently charged for her services, as she had a problem “taking advantage of someone’s pain’.
A memorial service was held in her memory on April 25, 1999, at her home. There were more than 70 people in attendance. She is sorely missed by all her family and friends.