Arty’s Eulogy by Alexa D’Amato Barrera
Art’s brother is Alex. I’m Alex’s wife.
On behalf of the family, thank you everyone for being here. It really means so much too all the family to see so many people who are here who were touched by Arty’s life.
I think so many of us can’t believe that we are here for Arty’s funeral. That Arty is no longer with us because while Arty was very laid back, he was so full of life.
He loved his family. He loved his friends. He loved his dog, Bandita. She’s so much like Arty was. She’s quiet when she wants to be but she is full of energy at the same time.
For those of you that didn’t know Arty, he was a man of few words, but once you got through his shell he was genuine, loving, kind and would give you the shirt off his back.
Last Christmas 1 of Arty’s friends wanted to buy this dog but he was a few hundred dollars short. Arty walked back into the room with the money for his friend to buy the dog.
That was Arty.
Growing up he never asked for anything. He wasn’t a needy kid. Marlene was 22 and Art was 26 when they had Arty. They were young and all their friends were young. Arty went almost everywhere Art and Marlene went so Arty was like everybody’sfirst child.
Art and Marlene had to work though as they are starting their family and raising up this sweet little baby.
Thankfully Arty was blessed to have both sets of grandparents, the Seylers and Barreras, to love all over him while his parents were at work. When Art and Marlene were saving to buy a house they lived with Art’s parents and when Marlene worked nights at the casino Arty would sleep at Marlene’s parents house. When he slept over at the Seyler’s Arty wanted Marlene’s mom to read him Goldilocks and the 3 bears. She offered him other books but it had to be Goldilocks and the 3 bears.
Arty loved his toys, especially his little matchbox cars. Our cousin Paul Gregory remembers spending time with Arty as a little kid. Arty pulled out each and every one of his matchboxes out of his case to show Paul the cars he loved so much.
Growing up Art and Marlene did a ton of camping with Arty embracing his love for outdoors. They would plan their camping trips around skate parks. Ocean City MD had Ocean Bowl which had a super pipe. They were just so proud of him because he was so truly talented. Art remembers standing back and watch Arty tear it up and hear people saying how incredibly talented Arty was at such a young age.
Other people though would be concerned about how young he was on these huge ramps and would have Marlene sign extra waivers, but from 6 years old on up Arty would drop in and land these tricks that grown men wouldn’t even try to do.
He grew up at the Shore and on the beach but Arty hated water. He swam in the pool at the house once and that was only because he was thrown in. He would launch off the ramp into the water at Thelma Pit on his bicycle though. That was the exception.
He liked water when it was in the form of snow. Everyone has great memories of chasing Arty down the slopes. Just watching him snowboard even as a little kid you could see the smile in his soul. He loved snowboarding so much he had to be the last one on the mountain, often times missing the last lift and having to take the shuttle back to the main lodge.
That was Arty!!!
He wanted to do what he wanted to do when he wanted to do it. Marlene would say, “it’s time for school”. He’d roll over to fall back to sleep and say “I don’t want to go to school”. She’d say “you gotta go to school”, and he’d say “make me”.
Part of that is because Arty was strong willed but the other part of it is that Arty LOVED his sleep!! One of his friends was saying, whether it was a 20 minute car ride or a 20 hour car ride, Arty slept the whole way.
He would get out of bed for waffles or something with sugar in it though.
Patmos Park was something that he liked about school because after school Fresh Start Church would pick the kids up from school, take them to the church for a bible reading and then they would shred up Patmos. Art and Marlene loved that he wanted to hang out there because it was a good influence for Arty.
Which all young boys need, and all parents think they need, especially in Arty’s case after he spray painted his bicycle next to Marlene’s car in the garage. When Artie was a teenager he would ride all over the township and Marlene would make him take a photo when he got to where he was going so she wouldn’t have to worry. She told him she wanted a selfie with the mailbox or front door. It wasn’t after a few months that Marlene started to realize he was resending the same photo. He left in a blue shirt and the picture he sent was a white shirt.
He loved to dig and build jumps. Art and Marlene’s shovels would disappear. Arty would come home covered head to toe in dirt and sit down on the couch like it was totally fine.
Arty loved hanging out with his two brothers, Tristan and Tanner. Arty was 7 when Tanner was born and 8 when Tristan was born.
He played with them when they were little and would wrestle with his brothers as they got older in the playroom. As they became young men their relationship changed as all relationships do.
Tristan was saying how he let Arty borrow his NEW completely white Vans and when Arty brought them back they were all torn up right in the toe from skateboarding.
Arty’s love of cars and tinkering in general came from both his grandfathers, which Arty loved to share with his brothers. When Tristan was 12 Arty taught him how to drive.
Arty also encouraged his brothers to ride and learn tricks with him promoting in them a love of the outdoors. The boys, trying to follow their brother’s ways built a track in the woods behind the house. They didn’t tell Artie so as he was riding around in the woods he knew so well he hit an unexpected jump and wrecked. He was livid when he got home.
He was incredible at tricks. His friend Brett who is really tall would say it was Arty’s lower center of gravity that allowed him to have this centrifugal force ability that made it possible for Arty to flip and land these crazy tricks.
While he loved flipping around and was incredible at it, the daredevil in him made us all a little nervous. He jumped off the roof of the Sears Mall on his bicycle. Thankfully he walked away from it. His friend tried and broke both legs.
Arty had his share of wrecks and injuries. He broke his arm chasing down the doberman. He broke his ankle on his bicycle. He cracked up his front teeth three different times. I think one time was Coco’s fault but he says they were able to push it back so it doesn’t count.
But that was Arty. He was always bruised up, scabbed up, full of dirt or greased up after working on his cars. He loved working on cars but he didn’t want to do it for a living. He only wanted to work on HIS cars.
He didn’t want to get his driver’s license initially though because he said, then I’d have to grow up and get a job to pay for a car and then I wouldn’t be riding. When he did get his license though he was exciting about racing cars. He had been working for years on this Mercedes that he was going to race.
While he never got around to racing that car, after his GreatGrandma Lisa died Arty got her Beige Betty. He took it to the Pit, jumped it and rode it around so much it got smashed and caught on fire. He took the license plates off and left the car there. Marlene was like – its registered to us – you can’t just leave it there. The Portnoy’s went and got it out for him.
Arty had a great group of core friends. Art was saying how when he sees these kids he sees Arty in them. Art would be walking in the hallway upstairs and hear Arty and his friends being silly and giggling. You just knew Arty was happy with his friends and it was awesome when they came around. That’s why the Barrera house was always open to Arty’s friends. They made Arty laugh and he was happy.
There were times it got out of control. This one time Marlene was out to dinner. Arty asked to have a couple of friends over. Art said 10 people. Well 10 turned into 20. Then 20 turned into 40. Then the next thing you know it’s on social media and there’s a keg rolling into the house. There were kids there from Absecon by the time the cops finally got there to break it up.
Arty knew everyone and everyone that knew him loved him. He started traveling with Art and
Marlene when he was little from trips to Lake Tahoe, Colorado, Vail, Vermont and carried that tradition on his own going to Oregon, California – basically anywhere with a sick pipe, ramps or just open space where he could slide down rails.
I personally believe God has a plan for all of us. I believe God’s plan for Arty was to LIVE his life to the fullest while he was here with us. He didn’t sit behind a desk inside all day. Arty LIVED. He kept going until God called him home. He was an incredible kid and we are all blessed to have a piece of him touch our lives. When you think of Arty think of his love and light and LIVE! Live like Arty lived – his way and loving every minute of it!