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Mogle remembered at YMCA gym dedication

Barney Mogle was remembered by family and friends Sunday afternoon in a heartfelt and cheerful re-dedication ceremony at the Tyrone YMCA gymnasium.

When Mr. Mogle passed away last Spring the YMCA Board of Directors voted to re-dedicate the gymnasium in memory of Barney. This past Spring the Tyrone YMCA was fortunate enough to receive a $5,000 grant from the Blair County Park and Recreational Department, which was used to renovate the gym floor in preparation for the re-dedication. The total cost for the gym floor was set at $9,700. But with a generous $1,000 donation from Larry Green, a friend of Mogle, the cost was lessened to assist the YMCA.

The ceremony offered warm and touching stories from Barney’s loved ones with an addition of some humor to ease the listening ears. President of the Tyrone YMCA Board of Directors, John Harlow, opened the ceremony followed by Reverend Norman Huff’s invocation in blessing the event. Harlow revealed the importance of Barney Mogle’s presence at the YMCA.

“Barney was our biggest asset and he has been sorely missed,” he said. Those words set the tone for the afternoon’s speakers, who gracefully told of the impact that Barney had on each one of their lives.

Tim Mogle, Barney’s son, introduced the family present and added a few words in honor of his late father. “My father loved his family, he loved his church, he loved this community and he loved this YMCA. He believed in its mission and what it offered to the community, especially to its young people.”

Mogle added, “I would like to thank the Board of Directors and everyone else involved with this tribute to the life of my father. This means so much to my family and I.”

Barney’s daughter, Betsy O’Connor was the next speaker on hand. She thanked everyone for honoring her dad in such a great and appropriate manner. “Our family is touched beyond words about this dedication.”

Mrs. O’Connor spoke of this past year’s difficulties and reflections on her father’s life through a book a friend gave her entitled Making Loss Matter.

“I thought about what his life was really all about,” she noted. “I realized yesterday while we dismantled my parent’s house, that the work of my dad’s life and his legacy had nothing to do with material possessions that we stacked in the truck. My dad’s spirit can be kept alive if we live our own lives in the way that he lived his, and that was to nurture other’s. The importance of nurturing, encouraging and coaching other people, and I think it is a miracle that he was able to do that.”

Barney’s daughter talked of his life without having a mother, who died because of complications at childbirth, and how the Tyrone community helped raise her dad when he lost his her. “He loved this town so much that it is hard to put it into words, but it was obvious all the time,” she added.

“Attitude for gratitude,” stressed O’Connor about her father’s advice to her. “He was thankful for the blessings that he had in this life. It is a life lesson that served me well and the rest of our family.”

The ceremony continued with pleasant memories brought back to life by the likes of long-time friends George Stever, Rev. Norman Huff, Morris Levine and Dan Sprankle.

Mr. Stever thanked the Board of Directors of the Tyrone YMCA for dedicating the newly remodeled gym to Barney Mogle. “This was an outstanding choice considering that Barney was a vital part of this YMCA for well over 50 years,” he said. “The Board is to be commended for this choice.”

Stever added with humor, “Barney would have been proud to accept this award, but you can bet that he would have wanted to know where the money came to pay for it.” Stever continued by saying that we can measure Barney’s accomplishments by simply looking around and talking to people. Barney Mogle’s determination and work is shown throughout the Tyrone YMCA and community.

He ended his touching speech with a phrase that he felt Barney would say if he were here today, “Shed no tears for me, there’s work to be done.”

Rev. Norman Huff spoke next in honor of Mr. Mogle with kind and joyful words, collaborated with pieces of paraphernalia brought by himself, which included the number five bowling pin given to him by Barney that Huff could never quite knock down. He said of Barney, “He was a great person, a person that you could depend upon. We had many wonderful experiences together.”

Huff added of his remembrance, “Barney let you know where he stood and sometimes people didn’t like that, but he never let it destroy the friendship or the relationship or the fellowship that we need as Christians. He was very open and honest with everyone, and that’s what we need in this community and our world.”

Morris Levine spoke of Barney’s avid involvement in directing and competing in athletics. Mr. Levine and Barney were great friends throughout his years.

“I thank God for knowing Barney for all these years,” Levine said. “We played golf together; he was a very competitive player. I enjoyed his company and the good times we had together.”

Along with many of Barney’s involvements within the community, he also was a Little League coach. Dan Sprankle spoke on behalf of Barney’s impact on his life through coaching, noting, “He wasn’t just my coach, but he was my mentor. More importantly, Barney was a leader, not a follower. He was a good family man, devoting husband, great father, and a heckuva coach.”

Sprankle added, “Barney as a coach wasn’t about winning or losing, it was about how you played the game, the game of life. He had more victories off of that field than anybody ever had on the field. ” Sprankle concluded, “Everything Barney did was better for the kids. The young people of today have missed a heckuva man.”

Vice-President of the YMCA Board of Directors, Mike Blaska, added that Barney Mogle has effected his life as much as anyone has. Barney was the one that influenced Blaska’s involvement in the Y program, along with other volunteer work that he takes on.

In a touching moment, Blaska asked for one last standing ovation for Barney to hear in his heavenly home, which was granted proudly by the crowd in attendance.

Blaska said that because of Barney’s advice through the years, “Even though there may be some bumps in the road, I will continue to do what’s best for the Tyrone YMCA because it’s best for the children and the community.”

The ceremony concluded with Barney Mogle’s grandson, Josh Hayes, unveiling the new emblem on the gym floor and accepting a plaque on behalf of his late grandfather.

Hayes spoke of the honor, saying, “It’s an overwhelming honor to receive this on behalf of my grandfather. And while we thank him for the YMCA, I would like to thank the YMCA for recognizing that work. If he were looking down right now he would be very proud.

“My grandfather was the biggest influence in my life, and I was very lucky to have him lead me. As I go on through life today and I’m faced with decisions, I often think what would make him proud. With that, I feel like he is alive within me.”