Michael Moran Barton 90, passed away on Sunday, November 14, 2021 in Spring Arbor, Michigan.
He was born on April 9, 1931 in Toledo, Ohio, the youngest of two children of Gerald and June (Notley) Barton. From a very young age, Mike had a strong desire to farm. He convinced his parents to move out of town and buy a farm when he was a young teenager. From that time on, Mike was raising livestock and growing crops until he decided to get an education at Michigan State University. While attending college he was bottom of the class but he met his sweetheart, Alice Kathleen Healy (Kathy), a teaching student from Pensacola, Florida who was the top of the class. With Kathy’s help, he managed to get good enough grades to graduate in 1953 with a Bachelor’s degree in Crop Science. They were married on September 1, 1953, and traveled to England where Mike served his two years in the U.S. Army. They wrote back and forth to their family at home, and planned for a future life on the farm.
After his service, Mike and Kathy moved to Kathy’s Uncle’s farm in Clarinda, Iowa. They realized that the farm wasn’t large enough to support multiple families, so they moved to Horton, Michigan with 10 sows and a boar from the Iowa farm. They struggled for a few years before selling the mineral rights to their property, which paid the debts. After having some success, Mike purchased more farmland in Homer, Michigan, and made it his home. He worked to grow the farm and make it a successful and meaningful part of the community. Mike grew his farm to over 1,000 sows, and 2,000 acres of cropland before retiring. His favorite job in retirement was pouring concrete for new farm buildings, and he made sure to be there for every build into his eighties.
Mike was a proud member of the Homer Lion’s Club, Calhoun County Farm Bureau, Homer FFA Alumni, Michigan Bicycle Touring Club, and Kellogg Farmer’s Study Group. He loved to ride his bike and canoe when not working on the farm. He spent a lot of time taking his children and grandchildren to canoe races, running races, and ski races. He planted a garden that overflowed with produce every year, and was dead set on helping his granddaughters grow the biggest pumpkins for the school fair. Mike always had a German Shepherd by his side and frequently said “If your dog thinks you are the greatest, don’t seek a second opinion.”
Mike was preceded in death by his parents Gerald and June.
He is survived by his wife Kathy (Healy) Barton, sister Patricia Traub, children Bruce (Roxanne) Barton, Greg (Justine) Barton, Connie (Tom) Cannon, six grandchildren, and one great-grandson.
Memorial contributions can be sent to the Homer Area Community Foundation Barton Farm Co. Endowment Fund P.O. Box 201, Homer, MI 49245.Assistance with memorials is available at the Kempf Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services. Leave a personal message for the family and sign the online guestbook at https://www.kempffuneralhome.com . Arrangements are entrusted to the Kempf Family Funeral and Cremation Services 303 South Hillsdale Homer MI 49425.