Rev. Canon Frank Kenneth Barta
The Reverend Canon Frank Kenneth Barta-affectionately called Father Ken-died peacefully at his home on August 4, 2012. All are welcome to the Holy Eucharist and interment of his ashes to be held at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in San Diego on Saturday, September 8 at 10:30 am. A reception will follow.
Rev. Barta, the Canon Residentiary at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral, was born on April 5, 1924 in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. His mother's ancestors were Danish merchants and planters in the Virgin Islands since the 1600s. His father, of Bohemian descent, was a Commander with the United States Navy.
Rev. Barta served in WWII before attending Stanford University, where he graduated in 1950 with a degree in history. After receiving his masters of divinity in 1953 from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, in Berkeley, he returned to St. Thomas. There he became an ordained priest at All Saints Episcopal, the same church where he was baptized.
From 1954 to 1967, his ministry continued at Episcopalian parishes in Jacksonville, Florida and in El Monte and Fillmore in California. In 1968, he became chaplain with the Veterans Administration Hospitals in first Los Angeles and then in Palo Alto (1972 to 1978), before concluding as Rector Emeritus of St. James Church in Monterey (1979 to 1984). Rev. Barta also served in the Army Reserves as chaplain from 1956 to 1977, retiring with the rank of major. At each parish and hospital, he made friends that would follow him throughout his life.
In 1984, Rev. Barta returned to the Virgin Islands, where he served as historian for the National Parks Service in St. Croix. For several memorable years, he shared his research and knowledge of the Virgin Islands' history, and assisted at St. John's Church in Christiansted.
In 1990, Rev. Barta moved to San Diego, where he assisted as a priest at St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral-becoming a Canon Residentiary in 1997-and at All Saints Episcopal Church. "The good Lord brought me here," he would tell friends. "I couldn't have asked for more." Although macular degeneration robbed his sight, he would continue to conduct mass by memory as he spoke in his soft voice, warmly accented from the Virgin Islands.
In addition to his generous, compassionate caring for people, Rev. Barta loved genealogy. Through his maternal grandmother in the Virgin Islands, he was descended from Danish royalty, which allowed him to trace his ancestry to Charlemagne, via Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain. He traveled to both Denmark and the Czech Republic to gather information and historical documents. When he lost his eyesight, parishioner Alice Hanson helped him by typing up hundreds of pages of his research, which will be preserved in St. Croix.
Rev. Barta's life was tremendously rich in friendships, through his churches, the Virgin Islands and his community at Coral Tree Plaza in San Diego. There are too many of you to name, but we thank all of you for making his life so meaningful and full of love.
Rev. Barta is survived by his sister, Agnes Dorothy (Dotsie) Cushman, and sister-in-law, Mae Barta; his nieces and nephew, Susan and Chip Cushman and Jennifer Barta Taylor. Father Ken was predeceased by his parents, Agnes Marie and Louis Joseph Barta, his brother, John, and nephew John Jr. He also leaves behind his "adopted" daughter, Susan French, with whom he never lost contact throughout their 50-years of friendship
For family flowers call 1-877-894-0431 and use family code #51693