When he was a young child, his family moved to the coalfields of McDowell County, W.Va. He was a 1956 Gary High School graduate, where he was a standout on the basketball and football teams. He was also elected Homecoming King, won the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Award, and was one of the first recipients in the country of the SAT National Merit Scholar Award. Although he lived most of his adult life in Southwest Virginia, he always considered himself a West Virginian.
He attended Virginia Tech as a member of the Corps of Cadets and graduated in 1960. He married Sue Ann Blair, a fellow Gary High School graduate, and they moved to Morgantown, where he attended West Virginia University medical school. He excelled in medical school and afterward moved his young family to Germany to honorably serve his country in the US Army for three years, attaining the rank of Major. He attended Duke University’s prestigious residency program in ophthalmology. After completing his residency, he and Sue moved to Radford with their four children to begin his successful ophthalmic practice. He took care of thousands of patients over 30 years, with three busy offices at the height of his career.
He was known for his quick wit, keen intellect, and his medical knowledge and skill — both in the office and surgical suite. He was a fierce competitor on the racquetball court and played daily for many years. He also loved playing pick-up basketball and was able to play full court basketball with his children and grandchildren well into his 70’s. He was a proud member of MENSA and an avid jeopardy fan. He enjoyed playing poker with his friends. He loved and was so proud of his family and above all was devoted to his wife, Sue, who was his constant companion and caretaker over the past few years.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved son, Michael Joseph Barta, and is survived by his wife, Sue; son, Mark Blair Barta (Amy); daughter Amy Barta Wall (Jimmy); and daughter Laura Jo Barta. He is also survived by 15 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
A funeral mass was held Tuesday, May 9, 2023, at St. Jude Catholic Church in Radford with the Reverend Cassidy Stinson presiding. Interment followed at West View cemetery in Radford. The family would like to thank Dr. Chuck Judy and the staff of Intrepid USA hospice as well as Father Cassidy for their care and support.
The Barta family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home in Radford.