Paxton native dies in motorcycle crash in Arizona; wife remains in a coma

GLOBE, Ariz. — A Paxton native was killed when he lost control of the motorcycle he was riding on an Arizona highway last weekend, and his wife, who was also on the bike, remains in a coma with critical injuries, a family member said Thursday.

The accident occurred about 10:20 a.m. Saturday when Dennis J. Barr, 59, of Tempe, Ariz., was driving the motorcycle on U.S. 60 near Globe, Ariz., with his wife, Anne Barr,  63, riding on the back, said Mr. Barr’s sister, Kathy Carpenter.

The Barrs were part of a group of about 10 to 12 motorcyclists who were driving to Globe, a town located in a mountainous region of the state. The accident occurred just outside of the town, on a curve in the four-lane highway where three other fatal motorcycle accidents had previously occurred, Carpenter said.

Carpenter said Mr. Barr, who was driving the bike, apparently lost control on the curve. The bike then left the road, where it struck a sign, causing both Mr. Barr and his wife to be thrown from the vehicle, Carpenter said.

A message left with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which investigated the crash, was not immediately returned.

Mr. Barr died at the scene, Carpenter said, while Anne Barr was flown to a hospital for medical treatment. She remained in critical condition Thursday afternoon at a Scottsdale hospital.

Carpenter said family members remain hopeful that Anne Barr, who suffered multiple bone fractures and remains in a coma as a result of brain trauma, will survive.

“It’s a wait-and-see thing, to see how the brain heals,” Carpenter said. “At this time we have no reason not to be hopeful.”

Mr. Barr was born and raised in Paxton and was a 1971 graduate of Paxton High School. He lettered in both football and basketball for the Paxton Mustangs, before continuing his football career at Rochester Junior College in Minnesota.

Mr. Barr and his wife, who just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary, had lived in Tempe, Ariz., for about 28 years, Carpenter said. Mr. Barr owned a roofing consulting business in Mesa, Ariz., and was an active participant in triathlon competitions in the past 10 years.

“His first Ironman he did not do until he was 50 years old,” Carpenter said. “He would have done another at 60, I know. He loved it.

“Denny was always just an avid runner. He always ran constantly, and he was into exercise and going to different gyms,” Carpenter said, adding that he was also an avid bicyclist.

Mr. Barr had one son, Dylan, 20, a student at Northern Arizona State University.

Mr. Barr was “very outgoing, always happy,” Carpenter said.

“He’s the one in the group that if somebody’s willing to hang it up, he’s encouraging them, saying ‘you can do it, you can do it,’” Carpenter said. “He would never let anything drag him down and get the best of him. He enjoyed life to the fullest.

“He’s an inspiration to all of us — the way he looked at things was amazing.”

Bueler Mortuary in Chandler, Ariz., is handling arrangements.  Funeral services are set for next Tuesday.

Please see Mr. Barr's obituary in the "Obituaries" section of this website.


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