Barry L. Deardorff, 81

Barry L. Deardorff, 81, of North Manchester, died peacefully on Friday, April 28, 2017, at Timbercrest Health Care Center in North Manchester. 

He was born on April 24, 1936, in Hartville, Ohio, to Harry and Gladys (Kinsley) Deardorff of Hartville, where they were proprietors of the Deardorff Restaurant.

Barry graduated from Uniontown (Ohio) High School and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1958 from Manchester College in North Manchester.  On Aug. 17, 1956, he married Arlene Wolf of Hartville, whom he had met as a teenager when they attended youth activities in neighboring Ohio churches.  Barry earned his Master of Divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary in Chicago.

After exploring a possible role in ministry, Barry decided instead to enter the field of secondary education and enrolled in an accelerated program at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., earning a Master of Arts degree. 

In 1963 he accepted a teaching position at Niles North High School in Skokie, Ill., teaching English courses for 31 years.  He was named “Teacher of the Year” in 1993 by the student body.  He and Arlene retired from teaching in 1994.

Barry was always a music-maker, taking piano lessons as a boy, playing drums in his high school band and piano for choral groups, and serving as timpanist for the Manchester Symphony Orchestra during college.  He later developed a keen interest in theater organ, not only attending many theater organ concerts but also becoming a skilled theater organist himself.  He owned a large theater organ and also a Hammond organ, both highlights of the popular annual Deardorff Christmas party, with Barry playing a variety of Christmas music accompanied by multiple lighting effects.

The Deardorffs were active in the Church of the Brethren throughout their lives.  As members of the Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin, Ill., Barry served as volunteer organist for 17 years.  They also attended many of the national conferences of their denomination, with Barry serving as conference organist in Kansas City in 2000.

Throughout their marriage the Deardorffs traveled extensively, particularly enjoying annual visits, along with good friend Richard Livingston, to Lake O’Hara Lodge in the Canadian Rockies to hike and to the island of Kauai in Hawaii to savor its natural beauty.  They enjoyed many trips abroad guided by David and Becky Waas.  In 2008 Barry and Arlene moved from Glenview, Ill., to the Timbercrest Senior Living Community in North Manchester and became members of the Manchester Church of the Brethren.  Barry’s home theater organ was donated to Timbercrest, where he continued to present occasional concerts.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Arlene of North Manchester; brother, Darryl (Juanita) Deardorff of Elgin, Ill.; two nephews, Duane (Darla Kay) Deardorff of Durham, N.C., and Dana (Vicki) Deardorff of Lexington, Mass., as well as three grandnephews and a grandniece. 

A celebration of the life of Barry Deardorff will be at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, at Timbercrest Chapel, 2201 East Street, North Manchester. Arrangements by Grandstaff-Hentgen Bender Chapel, North Manchester, Indiana.

Memorial gifts may be made to the Timbercrest Senior Living Community or the Barry and Arlene Wolf Deardorff Scholarship fund at Manchester University.

The memorial guestbook for Barry can be signed on-line at


Posted on 2017 May 03