Family Login:

Bruce Z. "Mr. Bearcat" Barney

Bruce Z. "Mr. Bearcat" Barney
  • December 6, 1947 - December 30, 2021
  • Battle Creek, Michigan
  • Battle Creek Central Alumni Association
    P.O. Box 2204
    Battle Creek, MI 49016

Share This Obituary
Resources

Send Flowers
 Local Florists


Memories & Candles

“Jan, Jeff,andErinI am sending my deepest, heartfletCondolences to your family. In1973 we moved to Battle Creek.Our neighbors on Fremont, Jerry and...Read More »
1 of 47 | Posted by: Alice Densborn - East Leroy, MI

“My deepest condolences to the family of Mr. Bruce Barney. Thank you for being a great principal! You made being a Bearcat a wonderful experience for...Read More »
2 of 47 | Posted by: Tenisha Hightower(Jamison)

“Thank you for all the beautiful and caring tributes honoring Bruce that all of you have written. Jeff, Erin and I feel very loved. ”
3 of 47 | Posted by: Jan Barney - Battle Creek

“We are sad to hear that Bruce passed away. He was a wonderful person that touched so many lives. He will be missed. ”
4 of 47 | Posted by: Gary & Kathy Garland - MI

“I am saddened to read of the passing of Mr. Barney.He was my teacher, coach and a positive role model for me as a young man and in life.From 7th...Read More »
5 of 47 | Posted by: Patrick Quinn - Dearborn Heights, MI

“Jan and family so sorry to hear of Bruce's passing Our prayers are sure to be with you. Diana & Tom Cole ”
6 of 47 | Posted by: Diana Cole - Battle Creek, MI

“i am sorry for your lost he was a good person . my prayer go out to you ”
7 of 47 | Posted by: reece adkins - battle creek, MI

“Mr. Barney my friend, my teacher, my football coach, and my mentor. I first met Mr. Barney when I was in the 7th grade at Northwestern Jr. High...Read More »
8 of 47 | Posted by: Bert Beasley - Newberry, FL

“My condolences to the Barney Family, Im so sorry for your loss . ”
9 of 47 | Posted by: Michelle Swafford - Battle Creek, MI

“Mr. Barney was the best principal we ever had at central high school. Some students may have gotten in trouble at school and seemed frustrated but he...Read More »
10 of 47 | Posted by: Crystal Gordon - Battle creek, MI

“My memories of Bruce are a piece of the past for me. He was a kind devoted HS boyfriend from sitting at the Sip'N Nip drivein '62 (w/his Mom driving)...Read More »
11 of 47 | Posted by: Jean Wing (Monaweck) - MI

“We knew Bruce in his later years as our FL neighbor here in The Villages. He and Jan worked tirelessly in their yard and when we passed, Bruce was...Read More »
12 of 47 | Posted by: Sharon Mcginnis - The Villages, FL

“Mr. Barney was ALWAYS a good man. I thank him for his guidance and leadership. ”
13 of 47 | Posted by: Janice Cook - Pine Bluff, AR

“My deepest condolences to the Barney Family on your loss of such a terrific Man! He was not only a true Bearcat but he encouraged all of us Bearcats...Read More »
14 of 47 | Posted by: Rita Moreno-Kerwin - Student

“Mr Barney will always be one of the greatest men I've ever met. Our time together as high school administrators were a highlight of my career. He was...Read More »
15 of 47 | Posted by: Terris Todd - Battle Creek, MI

“My prayers an thoughts are going out to the Barney family. Mr. Barney to me was a really good friend of mine an I could go to him if I had a...Read More »
16 of 47 | Posted by: Àmy Cummings - Battle Creek, MI

“Yes, he defined what it was to be a Bearcat, so the title "Mr. Bearcat" was truly fitting. As I see it, there should/will never be another "Mr....Read More »
17 of 47 | Posted by: Lynn Gray - Battle Creek, MI

“Dear Barney family,Please know that you are in our prayers for God's comfort during this time of loss of your dear husband, father, grandfather,...Read More »
18 of 47 | Posted by: Terri & Visnu Sookhai - MI

“I've known Bruce for just about my entire life. My dad had him as a student at Northwestern Junior High School. I had the good fortune of having...Read More »
19 of 47 | Posted by: Todd Angood - Boardman, OH

“Ron and I are saddened to hear of Bruce's death. He was an asset to Battle Creek Central and the city of Battle Creek. We were so fortunate that...Read More »
20 of 47 | Posted by: Sherry Anderson - Big Pine Key, FL

“Bruce was a wonderful asset to BCPS in general and to BCCHS specifically. His Bearcat voice, presence in so many activities and positive encouraging...Read More »
21 of 47 | Posted by: Ann and Shelby Robertson - MI

“One of the best educators, principal and teacher. Was in the band and loved to hear that voice coming over the loud speaker. Rest in peace Mr...Read More »
22 of 47 | Posted by: Pat Gray - Battle Creek, MI

“Jan, I am so sorry for your loss and I am thinking of you during these difficult times. Please let me know I you need anything ”
23 of 47 | Posted by: Sandy Kelly - Battle Creek, MI

“Dad B was the best person I have ever known in my life. He cared so much about the Battle Creek community, especially the high school that he...Read More »
24 of 47 | Posted by: Ryan Green - Northville, MI

“To the Barney family our prayers are with the family during this time. We appreciated his service to the students and support to the faculty. ”
25 of 47 | Posted by: Marva, Marjanii (student), and Adhjamon (student) Wilburn - FL

“R.I.H. Mr. Bruce Barney. You were a great Leader to the Community and especially the Battle Creek Public School Administration; plus the Greatest...Read More »
26 of 47 | Posted by: Renee Wright-Hart - Louisville, KY

“I knew Bruce as a friend first then as my principal at Battle Creek Central. He was a Bearcat through and through. We enjoyed his and Jan's company...Read More »
27 of 47 | Posted by: Doug Bess - BATTLE CREEK

“Bruce and I go way back to our days at Northwestern and Central, Bruce you left Quite a legacy, and did well my ,friend, rest , in peace. Jan, and...Read More »
28 of 47 | Posted by: William Hubbart - MI - Friend

“RIP my friend. ”
29 of 47 | Posted by: Jim Keyser - Battle Creek, MI

“He was my Principal but he was so much morehe was a great listener and a man of his wordhe made sure I was able to *graduate as a Bearcat when my Mom...Read More »
30 of 47 | Posted by: NiChole (Ridley) Milton - Lansing, MI

“Bruce will be greatly missed by many. Our deepest sympathy Jan to you and your family. May the many wonderful memories help you through this...Read More »
31 of 47 | Posted by: Bud/Bobbi Forsythe - The Villages, FL

“Bruce Barney was one of the most decent people I have had the honor and pleasure of knowing. He saw the good in everyone and always kept his focus...Read More »
32 of 47 | Posted by: Susan Buckley - Battle Creek, MI

“Mr. Barney was my teacher at BCCHS in the late 70's. I can still see him standing outside his class room door, arms folded on his chest and the...Read More »
33 of 47 | Posted by: heidi oberle - Saint Peters, MO

“My heart reaches out to you and your family for the passing of your wonderful husband. The two of you were my example of how to live a meaningful...Read More »
34 of 47 | Posted by: Patricia Freed - Battle Creek, MI

“Mr. Barney was much respected and one of the greatest educators I fondly remember from my high school years. My deepest sympathy goes out to his...Read More »
35 of 47 | Posted by: Sheryl Woods - Battle Creek, MI

“I knew Mr Barney as first a Civics teacher when I was in high school, then as my principal, again when I was in high school. Later Mr Barney ( I...Read More »
36 of 47 | Posted by: Susan Wascher-Jordan - MI

“Mr. Bruce Barney was an incredible person and educator/principal. He always put students and staff first and was the finest example in the community...Read More »
37 of 47 | Posted by: Brian & Liz Bucec - Battle Creek, MI

“Our hearts are broken for Erin and the entire Barney family. Sending prayers for strength, hope, and healing during this difficult time. We so...Read More »
38 of 47 | Posted by: Abbigail (Schultz) Tumpey

“Mr. Barney was the best teacher EVER!!! BC Central was better for having a Great teacher and principal like him. He will be MISSED!! ”
39 of 47 | Posted by: Virginia (Ginny Ferrill) Gillespie Class of 81’ - MI

“Helped change my life. Expected excellence and would give my homework back when he knew I could do better. My hand writing is a direct reflection of...Read More »
40 of 47 | Posted by: Robert Hodges - Dowling, MI

“Mr.BEARCAT you will be truly Missed. I've enjoyed my time knowing you. Owen & Lynne Thompson ”
41 of 47 | Posted by: Owen / Lynne Thompson - MI

“Mr. Bruce Barney was a huge asset to BCCHS, he was one of the best. His memory will live on in the hearts of thousands. ”
42 of 47 | Posted by: Tina Wilcox Class of 79' - MD

“Mr. Bruce Barney was a huge asset to BCCHS, he was one of the best. His memory will live on in the hearts of thousands. ”
43 of 47 | Posted by: Tina Wilcox class of 79'

“Mr. Bruce Barney was a huge asset to BCCHS, he was one of the best. His memory will live on in the hearts of thousands. ”
44 of 47 | Posted by: Tina Wilcox class of 79'

“Bruce was really a good man. I always respected and liked him for what he stood for. What an awesome Bearcat through and through. Our thoughts and...Read More »
45 of 47 | Posted by: Al and Maureen Slamer - Friend

“I grew up with Bruce I have known him since I was10 my thoughts and prayers are with you ”
46 of 47 | Posted by: Chuck Lewis - Battle Creek, MI

“I have had the privilege of visiting with Mr. Barney these past few months when I visit my mom. He was still smiling, waving and making his ever...Read More »
47 of 47 | Posted by: Alesa McFall - Battle Creek, MI


Bruce Z. Barney "Mr. Bearcat"

Bruce Z. Barney, 74, of Battle Creek passed away on Thursday, December 30th after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was born in Battle Creek on December 6, 1947 to Robert and Olive (Zaback) Barney. Bruce attended Urbandale Elementary, Northwestern Jr. High, and graduated with the Class of 1966 from Battle Creek Central High School. He earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Western Michigan University.

Bruce began his teaching career in 1970 at Northwestern Junior High, and would spend the next 37 ½ years as a junior high school and high school teacher, football coach and grade principal---reaching his goal of becoming the Principal of his beloved BCC in 1992. Fondly referred to as "Mr. Bearcat" and "The Voice of the Bearcat Marching Band," he served tirelessly to lead the "Pride of the State".

Bruce's philosophy always was, "If it's good for my Bearcats, then let's do it!" He led a multitude of innovative and impactful programs and initiatives, including the Quest (Skills for Success) Program, the Alumni Association/Alumni Center, the Bearcat Alumni Brick Wall, and the Junior ROTC program, from which came one of his proudest moments--when they laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Family always came first. Bruce is survived by his wife, Jan (Janet McAllan) of 51 years; their son, Jeff (Jenny), their daughter, Erin (Ryan) Green, and his pride and joy; grandchildren Mason and Marryn Barney and Olivia and Avery Green. Also surviving include his sister, Brenda (Mel) Tuttle; sister-in-law, Pam (Brian) Barney; his brother, Don Barney; nieces, Susan Barney and Laura Washburn; nephews, Greg Tuttle, Joe (Stacy) Conrad; and many Barney & Zaback cousins. Preceding him in Heaven are his parents; brothers, Brian and Ronald, and a niece, Lisa (Mark) Bitterman.

Bruce was an avid sports and music fan. He loved to watch his children and grandchildren play and perform. He was so very proud of them. He was the biggest Michigan fan ever, having season football tickets for twenty-three years. On football Saturdays, a large Michigan flag is always flying at the Barney home.

Bruce was recognized as an honorary member of the Michigan Marching Band, and last summer he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the BCCHS Alumni Association. In part it read, "for his exemplary Bearcat spirit and tireless efforts in promoting, preserving, and furthering the legacy, pride and history of our beloved alma mater – Bearcat Pride Forever."

So, "Mr. Bearcat" --- Well done, thou good and faithful servant: Matt. 25:21.

Go Bearcats! Go Blue!

There will be a Celebration of Life later in the Spring. If you wish, a donation to Bruce's favorite organizations, Battle Creek Central Alumni Association P.O. Box 2204 Battle Creek, MI 49016, Battle Creek Community Foundation 32 W. Michigan Avenue Battle Creek, MI 49017 and the Humane Society of South Central Michigan 2500 Watkins Rd. Battle Creek, MI 49015 would be appreciated. Arrangements by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Battle Creek.