Obituary: Dave Baribault, 62, Unsung EG Historic Cemetery Hero

by | Sep 5, 2020

David W. Baribault, 62, of West Warwick, passed away on Sept. 1, at Philip Hulitar Hospice surrounded by his loving family after several months of hospitalizations and health challenges.

He is survived by his wife Kristin Brooks, his children, Kristen, Matthew and Emma Baribault.

Born in Providence, he was the loving son of Albert and Patricia Baribault. Dear brother to Peter (Maryanne), James, Gregory (Susan), Jon (Debra) and Dona LeBoeuf (pre-deceased Reginald). Son-in-law of Sharon Slusher.

Adored by his many nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews who considered David to be the life of all family get togethers. Dear friend to many, especially Joseph Thompson, John Panos, and Brian Lester.

David was a dedicated employee of UPS for thirty years where he had many friends, retiring in 2016 when he began his volunteer work cleaning out neglected historical cemeteries and driving for Inskip Motors.

David was an avid outdoorsman, he enjoyed camping, fishing and boating. David made two cross country trips in his camper in recent years. He went on an African Safari several years ago and was a true lover of all animals and nature. David also loved visiting his parents often in Venice, Fla.

David graduated from St. Paul’s School, Edgewood, and Our Lady of Providence High School, Providence. He was a gifted student and athlete, excelling in hockey, basketball, baseball, and football.

The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to the staff at Miriam, Rhode Island Hospital, and Philip Hulitar Hospice Center, the several priests who visited David to anoint him during his illness, and the many family and friends who were by David’s side and supported his family with love and prayers.

Due to the current restrictions, the funeral and burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Turtle Conservancy, P.O. Box 1289, Ojai, Calif. 93024.

Arrangements by Russell J. Boyle & Son Funeral Home. For directions, and online condolences, please visit boyleandsonfuneralhome.com.

From Alan Clarke, the Kent County representative for East Greenwich on the R. I. Advisory Commission on Historic Cemeteries:

I note with sadness the passing of Dave Baribault. I only knew him a few years but he became a friend quickly. Dave had retired and was looking for something to do. He called and asked if he could clean a few of the historic cemeteries found all over the town west of Route 2. Dave lived off Frenchtown Road. Naturally I would never turn anyone down so we met for coffee, I drove him around and showed him a couple cemeteries that could use a good cleaning. 

One has to be careful to assign cemeteries that are easily accessible from the road or the landowner does not mind if someone cleans the cemetery on their property. Dave cleaned two cemeteries in rapid order and called asking for a few more. I worked with him on two cemeteries but he kept asking for more so I gave him a map so he could find his own. Pretty soon he cleaned over 10 Frenchtown graveyards that I knew of. And he kept them cleaned and groomed for two or three years. On several occasions, Dave met the landowners and being the friendly chap that he was, he even got some of them to chip in with a rake too. 

We re-discovered a “lost” cemetery out on the corner of South Road and Tillinghast. It became East Greenwich-095. Dave not only cleaned it, he groomed it, he planted grass seed and flowers… it became his pet project. It had been covered with debris for a century or more but Dave brought it out into the open and made it shine.  

And then he disappeared. I called him and he told me he had got another job driving and he had less time for cleaning cemeteries. But he did a great job while he did it and he would never accept anything but a “Thanks!” 

It has been two years since I last spoke with Dave. In that time, apparently he developed health problems and finally those health problems took him away. 

As it goes, we don’t know who are buried in some old graveyards and EG-095 is one of them. The only signs that it is a graveyard are rows of fieldstones turned on end. There are no engravings, no names. We don’t know what to call a cemetery when we don’t know who is there. I suspect that the last cemetery Dave cleaned was EG-095. I’m going to call it the Dave Baribault Memorial Lot in my records and see if we can’t make it official.


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1 Comment

  1. Brian Roberts

    That would be fabulous to name it after Dave.

    Reply

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