Peter “Benny” Barra
Benny came into this world on May 27, 1936 and joined family and friends in Heaven on September 24, 2021. He made it to 85!
Born at the old St. Agnes Hospital in Fresno to John and Anna Barra, he came home to the West Park area, southwest of Fresno where he lived his entire life. He grew up with his sister Lucy and his brother Ralph, of whom he was youngest by eleven months.
Throughout his time in the West Park area, he attended West Park Elementary School, Washington Union High School and Fresno City College.
After graduating from Washington Union High School in 1955, Ben went into the work force. Then between 1957 and 1959, he served in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany. In 1959, he met his wife, Belmira “Belle” Machado, at the old CPDES Portuguese Hall in Fresno and married in 1960. They had three children. In 1968, Ben and Belle opened Ben’s Tractor, north of Easton, and operated it for 38 years. It became the place where people got their first career start or their second chance. Additionally, he farmed the family’s original 10 acres all of his life and in 1974, added an adjacent 10 acres, of which today grows almonds.
Ben was always active in the community: Be it with West Park Elementary, where he served as President of the School Board, or Washington Union High School, you can count on Ben to support. He played a very integral part of the Fresno County Cabrillo Civic Club #10 for over 40 years, preparing food for their many events. He also served as the Club’s President. Additionally he was the head cook for the St. Anthony’s Portuguese Club of Fresno for the past 15 years and served as its President in 1966. And even though he wasn’t Serbian, he was a member of the St. Peter’s Serbian Men’s Club for over 20 years, where he also cooked meals for them. He and Belle played a role with many in the Easton community in building St. Jude’s Catholic Church in Easton, where he attended. He was a member of Portuguese Fraternal organization, UPEC.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Belmira “Belle” Machado Barra, his parents, his sister, Lucille Barra Romano, his brother, Ralph Barra, his son in-law, Ronney Phillips plus his in-laws Fred Machado, Joe and Dolores Machado, and Tony and Sherri Machado.
He is survived by his son, Steven Barra, daughter in-law Christine and granddaughter, Isabella, his daughters Margaret Barra and Diane Barra, all of Fresno. He is also survived by his in-laws: Grace Barra, Maxine Machado; Mary and Louis Craven; Richard and Carol Machado and Dolores Carnahan, all of Fresno, plus many nieces, nephews and an extended, but close-knit family
His family wishes to thank the entire team at Fresno VA Hospital, especially Drs. Pugoy and Sidhu and their staffs, and to our Nancy Hinds Hospice nurse, Jazmine, and her team, for their amazing care.
Visitation: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Thursday. October 21, 2021 at the CPDES Portuguese Hall in Easton. Rosary at 6:00 p.m.
Mass: 10:00 a.m. Friday, October 22, 2021 at St. Mary Queen of Apostles Catholic Church.
Remembrances: Washington Unified Educational Foundation, 7950 South Elm Avenue, Fresno, CA 93706. Arrangements: Jay Chapel.
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Washington Unified Foundation
7950 S. Elm Avenue, Fresno CA 93706