He was born to the late Julia Pearl (Wyman) and Henry Francis Barrett on March 16, 1928, at the Stoneholm Farm in Keene, the fifth of six children. He was educated locally, graduating in the Keene High School class of 1946. Toby was very active in many high school sports and received many awards. In the Fall of 1945, Toby won the Fred P. Sharby, Jr. Cup awarded to a KHS Varsity football player who by his conduct on and off the field has reflected the most credit on his school. Toby got interested in golf at a young age while caddying at nearby Winding Brook Lodge Golf after school sports and at home farm chores. Some of that golf property is now the Monadnock View Cemetery. Later, as a farmer in his twenties, with every other Sunday afternoon off, he would sometimes golf Hooper in Walpole, NH. In 2018, The Barrett family was honored with the first “Barrett Award”, an award in golf given to a Keene High School student similar in spirit to the Sharby Award that Toby received in 1945. This award is for accomplishments on and off the course.
After high school, Toby enlisted in the Army of the United States and completed Officer Candidate School. On Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, 1948, as a Lieutenant, he was assigned to the 599th Engineers Group in Korea. He built a baseball field and played baseball as an officer mixing with enlisted personnel. He managed the Korea Base Command Boxing team in the Korea Golden Gloves Championship in Pusan that August. With the end of WWII hostilities, Toby was discharged from AUS in October 1948.
On June 12, 1949, Toby exchanged vows with Janis Darling Barrett. They were married at the Court Street Congregational Church in Keene and were happily married for 67 years until Janis passed away on October 1, 2016. They had six children.
In 1950, Janis’s parents sold Toby and Janis, along with his brother, Ellis, and wife Joye, their farm on East Surry Road in Keene where Janis had grown up. Toby’s greatest outdoor love was working in the woods of the farm cutting cordwood and logging. With the passing of his father in 1950, Toby became the guardian of his younger brother, Bruce, who suffered a brain injury as a child. Bruce lived in what is now called the bunkhouse for Bretwood, originally near the barn milk room. The City of Keene awarded Toby a certificate of recognition for 18 years of continuous service to the people of Keene on the City Council, Planning Board, and Board of Zoning Adjustment from 1957 to 1975. He loved public service, as did his brother, Evans, who inspired him. The night meetings ran later into the night with prolonged decision-making, too late for a man awake and working at dawn. Toby had a lifelong interest in almost all sports and loved competition. Over the years, Toby built ball fields around the region including Peterborough, Northfield School, and KSC. He did numerous renovations to Alumni Field and loved preparing the field for KHS, Post 4, and Swamp Bats games. In the 1960’s Toby was an active chainsaw, log-rolling, axe-cutting woodsman competitor. As an NH State champion in chainsaw and runner-up in log rolling, he automatically qualified for the 1960 Northeastern Championships held in New York State. In 1963 he won the New England Chainsaw Championship. From 1965 to 1967, he won both the Monadnock Region Chainsaw Championship and NH Best Woodsmen Award at the Cheshire Fair. His brother, Ellis, also competed and was instrumental in building the chainsaw to be the fastest cutting saw that they could achieve. Toby devised the steeplechase chainsaw competition with various types of cuts used in competition at the Cheshire Fair and later used around the country at other competitions. In
June, 1967, the Bretwood Farm barn burned to the ground with Barrett family members, awakened in the night, saving the animals. Thoughts in Toby’s mind about building a nine hole course in addition to the farm turned to a conversation with Ellis on the future of farming. In a large family meeting, the decision was made to auction the cattle and take their chances on a golf course. Toby took an 8 week turf management course at Stockbridge School, University of Massachusetts. Ellis took on being equipment manager. Throughout their years of farming and golf course operations, the brothers worked as a team combining their individual skills. Toby was a proud owner of Bretwood since 1950. He is the last surviving of four original owners of Bretwood Farm which became Bretwood Golf Course, two 18-hole courses.
Mr. Barrett is survived by his five children, Anne M. Barrett husband Kevin Roentsch of Keene, Thomas H. Barrett wife Marcia of Keene, Bonnie L. Shortsleeve husband Charles Jr. of Keene, Hugh T. Barrett wife Tamara MacAllister of Surry, Caren L. Barrett of Nelson, his grandchildren, Kyle T. Barrett, Sara B. Barrett, Levi T. Barrett, Nicolas B. Michelewicz, Sophie L. Green, Alina P. Michelewicz, Max K. Barrett-Lhu, Brett A. Barrett, Chelso H. Barrett, and his two great-grandchildren, Vincent D. Michelewicz and Blair D. Barrett and former daughter-in-law, Gina L. Barrett. Along with many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. Toby Barrett is predeceased by his parents, his wife, Janis, his daughter, Susan J.Barrett (1955), his five siblings, Madge Johnson, Martha Allen, Evans H. Barrett, Ellis S. Barrett, and Bruce H. Barrett and a favorite uncle, George Thomas Barrett .
Burial was private at Monadnock View Cemetery on July 18, 2023. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 12:00PM on Monday, August 7, 2023, in the Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel, 44 Maple Ave. Keene, NH. 03431. Although flowers will gladly be appreciated, the family has requested that donations may be made to a charity of your choice. All services are under the care of Cheshire Family Funeral Chapel and Crematories, Keene. www.cheshirefamilyfh.com.