Barella History

Joe Barella born June 6, 1937 and grew up in Glenwood, located in the village of Bakersville in the town of New Hartford, Connecticut.

He passed away October 9, 2013 while taking a break on a leaf-peeping bicycle ride outside Egremont, Massachusetts.


Joe passed away unexpectedly on October 9, 2013 at the age of 76 while doing what he loved so much, riding his tandem bike with his wife Pat. He was born June 6, 1937 to Clorindo Sr. and Frances (Guillion) Barella. He grew up in the Bakerville hamlet of New Hartford, Ct., literally down the street from where he lived at the time of his death.

Joe was industrious throughout life, working in bowling alleys after school and picking tobacco in the summer as a teen. After serving in the Navy, he worked construction for C.H. Nickerson and O&G Industries, and also did drywall work.

Quitting smoking changed his life in the '70's and he found new interest in outdoor activities. He enjoyed gardening, making stone walls and masonry projects at his home. He took up jogging and ran in numerous races including the Boston Marathon. He then took up backpacking, hiking the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine four times, as well as Connecticut's Metacomet and Tunxis trails, among others. His favorite shelter was Riga Shelter on the Appalachian Trail, outside Salisbury, Connecticut, and was piqued by Monument Mountain outside of Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Joe also cycled, which became a family activity. He and his wife Pat participated in long-distance bicycle rides in every state east of the Mississippi River, and Ontario Canada. Commuters to Hartford may know him as the long-johns wearing guy biking Rt. 202 in Nepaug nearly every morning, year round, often before sun up.

Joe loved telling stories about his days growing up on the family farm in Bakerville and about his many hiking adventures. At the suggestion of several kin, he wrote down many of his adventures, available on the family website

Given his passions, it is no surprise that Joe's favorite philosopher and writer was Henry David Thoreau, author of On Walden Pond. Joe rejoiced in nature and appreciated creatures, plants, and the natural order of things.

Known lovingly as "Pa", he is survived by his wife of 44 years, Patricia (Kuehl) Barella and numerous family members including Perette Barella of Rochester, N.Y.; Patricia Ferreira and Jeff Stewart of Winsted, Ct.; James Ferreira and Cathy Kendall of Granby, Ct.; Elaine and "Cookie" Lindenfeld of Torrington; Carl Sager of Maine and Joe's brother-in-law Carl H. Kuehl of Torrington. He will be missed by his grandchildren Timothy Smolen, Jacob Collum, Cody Ferreira, Jackson and Charles Kendall. He will also be missed by his neighbors whose dogs he walked and who will remember him as a generous person who shared garden vegetables, hand crafted Christmas wreathes and with whom Joe enjoyed being a daily part of their lives. Friends and family will gather for a Celebration of Life at a future date.

Visit the online guestbook.

Joe's Stories

Farm stories

The Farm Doodle-Bug Uncle Paul


A compilation of trail stories and notes. And I thought, "Oh shit, a bear!" (1985 Thru-Hike)
To right: Joe at summit of Mount Katahdin, Maine, at the end of his 1985 Appalachian Trail through-hike. Ramblings of an Old Backpacker 1990 Thru-Hike Flip Flop (1997 Thru-Hike)


Pickin' Tobacco Betsy

1990: Second Appalachian Trail Hike

Photo of Joe Barella

Local man walks trail again

By Tim Baker, Register Citizen Staff

NEW HARTFORD - Bakerville resident Joseph Barella, 54, likes to take long walks to relieve stress.

A hike he completed in late July ought to keep him tension-free for some time to come. On July 26, the dry-wall contractor completed the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, the second time he as done so.

At right: Bakerville resident Joseph Barella has conquered the Appalachian Trail twice.
Photograph by John Murrary, Register Citizen staff photographer.

In 1985, he finished the trek on the same date and was the first of the season to reach the crest of Maine's Mount Katahdin - the finishing line of the longest continuously marked footpath in the world.

"I think I kind of needed it," Barella said about his latest walk. "It's too crowded here," he said of life in Northwestern Connecticut.

He said he was more relaxed during this hike because he was familiar with the trail. Unlike his first time, Barella walked late into the evenings in order to gain a vantage point to witness the sunsets of 14 different states.

The trail runs the length of the Appalachian Mountains from Georgia to Maine.

On his first walk, Barella said crossing the Kennebeck River in Maine gave him his greatest challenge. The violent waters knocked him down several times.

This time around he met his most difficult physical challenge again in the state of Maine - which Appalachian trekkers call "R&R" for "root and rock," Barella said. This time a storm atop Mount Washington was his greatest hurdle. Barella camped on the mountain near the timberline about 4,000 feet above sea level.

Storms traditionally get more violent at that height, Barella said. "The weather's erratic up there." Before he made camp, a storm kicked in with 60-mph winds reducing visibility to 5 feet.

"I thought my backpack straps would break," he said. Barella finally found shelter in a building where he was safe for the night. Barella's diet consisted of freeze-dried foods like rice and powdered soups which he mixed in boiling water at camp. He also carried a bag of apples most of the time. Fellow hikers thought he was crazy to shoulder the extra weight, but "I love apples and I didn't need to carry water," he said.

Barella kept a quick pace at about 25 miles per day. He began the trip on March 31 and finished about 4 months later. His pace allowed him to diverge from the trail when he felt like seeing the sights without losing much time. Barella was the fifth to finish the walk this season, said his wife, Pat, a nurse at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.

A runner who has completed the Boston Marathon, Barella said the recent trip put him back into shape and lifted his spirits.

"The flowers down south were just incredible - whole mountain sides of trilliums from white to deep purple," Barella said.

His favorite part of the trek: "Just watching nature," Barella said. "When you're out there that long, you start to understand just how it works."

Barella camped in his small tent most nights. Occasionally, he would stay at one of the shelters that are scattered along the length of the trail. While in the Connecticut section of the trail in West Cornwall, his son, James, picked him up and Barella stayed two nights in his own bed at home before he finished the walk.

When he reached Katahdin, Barella turned around and walked the 283 miles of Main trail again in order to say farewell to some of the trekkers he met along the way.

While on the trail, acquaintances go by nicknames. This time around, Barella was known as "Italian Scallion" because of his habit of munching on wild onions he found along the trail.

Barella said he doesn't know if he'll walk the trail again. If so, the decision will be spontaneous like the first two were.

While walking, Barella carried no watch and doesn't keep track of the time or date. "We're on schedules all our lives; out there I'm free and loose."


Joe and Pat on an overnight biking adventure to Hudson, NY in autumn 2013.

Joe and grandson Tim, 2010.

From left to right: Perette Barella and her friend Amanda, Patricia Barella, and Joe Barella. Photo by Brenda Make


I don't know the history of the Air Cooled Water Impeller, but it is not unique—the few I've seen have been hand-drawn with an identical part and substantially the same notes. The notes are laid out differently and have minor text variations. Perhaps it was commonly used as practice material in drafting classes. Anyhow, this is Joe's take on the impeller:

(Click the image to enlarge.)

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