Leon Barkman, Early Hiker of the Appalachian Trail

Barkman, a Newtown resident, was one of the first hikers who made it across the Appalachian Trail.

Leon Barkman of Newtown, passed away on the Autumnal Equinox after a brief illness with pneumonia. Born in Port Jervis, NY, Leon was a biology professor at Housatonic Community College for thirty years.

His education included Rockland Community College, Arizona State University at Flagstaff, Syracuse University and the University of Bridgeport for a second master’s degree.

He was a veteran of the army serving in the Alaskan tank corp.

He was the 37th to hike the Appalachian Trail, a 2,024 mile trail from Georgia to Maine. He hiked 113 mountains over 4,000 feet in the northeast. Every Dec 28, Mount Marcy, a 5000 ft. mountain in NY was a favorite destination with his wife, Patricia, his nephew, Dave and friends, Bruce and Susan. He biked with his nephew, Lee, across the country, west to east coast.

He hiked all 49 high peaks in contiguous U.S. His favorite birding companion was his nephew, Scott. He was an avid tennis player. He won men’s singles, men’s doubles and mixed doubles in Newtown tournaments several times. He ran the Boston Marathon twice. A full-page photo in Runner’s World captured his participation. Even into his 80’s Leon enjoyed a pick-up game of basketball, hiking, biking or playing tennis.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Newtown Public Library where Leon liked to read and where he put together his bird jigsaw puzzle that his sisters, Anne, Ruth and Rebecca gave him for his 80th birthday. He was able to pass on his wisdom and wit to his grandnephews, Jake and Connor. His family life was enriched by Marybeth and Marj, two thoughtful, caring women as well as his wife’s family who loved him very much.

The Memorial service will take place at the tennis courts in Dickinson Town Park on Elm Drive in Newtown, Wednesday, September 26 at 2:00 p.m.

This informal memorial will honor Leon and the life he loved. Please wear white to remember his many days on the tennis court. Bring chairs or blankets for hillside seating (nothing to mar the tennis court), and most importantly bring happy memories of all the times that we had together.

Ehab Farah September 25, 2012 at 02:20 PM
He will be sadly missed by all. Love Haby
Tom Gissen September 25, 2012 at 03:51 PM
I first met Leon on the Basketball court....and I consider myself very blessed to have done so. I can truely say that I have never met a man with such a love of life, a man who took greatest joys from the simplest things and then passed that joy on to all around him. Leon gave me two great things: first his friendship; then his inspiration. I seriously doubt that I will be able to match Leon's activity level and love of life well into my 70's, but I am sure going to try.
michael fitzsimons September 25, 2012 at 05:41 PM
MIke FitzSimons Inspired everyone that had the chance to know him. I feel lucky i was one of those people.


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