Official Obituary of

Jack S. Barko

July 21, 1944 ~ February 15, 2024 (age 79) 79 Years Old

Jack Barko Obituary

John (Jack) Barko

R.I.P.  7/21/1944 - 2/15/2024

Jack passed away unexpectedly on February 15, 2024. He was born in Brownsville, PA and raised in Sayreville, NJ before moving to New Brunswick where he resided since 1972. 

He is survived by his three children and families- Jason and Jennifer Barko and grandkids, Alexandra (16) and Mallory (13), Samantha and Jim Withum and grandkids, Jack (24) and Ryan and Cameron (23), and Amanda and Sean Cuttler and grandkids Evan (12) and Max (8). He is also survived by his ex-wife Annemieke deKoning.

In Sayreville as the only child of John J Barko and Olga (Szabo) Barko, you could find him at the top of Elizabeth Street picking up rocks and hitting them with a stick in the empty lot. As a left-handed pitcher he continued throwing his knuckleball at Middlesex County College. He remembers his tryout with the Montreal Expos but in the end settled for a family life where he passed his love of baseball down to his children and grandchildren. He loved the game and spent his older years playing softball with his AT&T/BellCore friends and then with his son Jason on the New Brunswick Pirates playing co-ed softball with his daughters, Sam and Amanda and cheering on his grandsons at their baseball games. In the 80s and some of the 90s, you could find him enjoying the Home Opener at Shea with his softball crew and his children. It was tradition to start at the Duchess Diner in Metuchen then hop on the train and head to NY. The day ended after enjoying a meal at Rusty Staub’s place. In addition to baseball, Jack spent many years coaching his children in the New Brunswick Rec Soccer League and OLOL basketball teams. You also wouldn’t be surprised seeing him play horseshoes with his uncles and cousins and tossing darts or playing shuffleboard with his children and golf with friends. He was a life-long bowler and was still bowling up until his final days.

Another passion of Jack’s was trains. Living two blocks from the train tracks was likely intentional as he would often bring his children to watch them go by, explaining the different trains and how the signals worked. There also might have been a penny or two sacrificed to experiment how it was flattened by the train. He was a frequent customer of the old Tumulty’s Pub, enamored by the trains going around as if he were still a young lad. He was proud of his train collection that was displayed alongside his many beer signs, drinking glasses and other eclectic memorabilia.  

Jack graduated Rutgers University and his three children and one grandson followed in his footsteps there as well. How could they not? Jack always brought them to RU football and basketball games. He began his working career at Boyt's Pharmacy in South River and continued to share stories about his experiences there. He later was employed by AT&T, BellCore and the many other names of the company until he retired. Being the creative and handy guy that he was, he found his next and last job at Home Depot in Milltown. He didn’t call it a job though, because he enjoyed being around his colleagues there and helping customers. 

Towards the end of his life, he would continually say how blessed he felt and was proud of who he was and what he had accomplished. He would probably say how lucky he was to have enjoyed homemade meatloaf as his last supper and The White Rose- System as his final meal. 

Jack was one of a kind, a Jack of all trades, eternal optimist, and did things his way whether you liked it or not. To remember him, try putting on an episode of MASH, Dharma & Greg, Coach or Seinfeld with a Coors banquet nearby and knowing that he may be watching right along with you. You could also just share a corny joke, ponder a riddle and root for Rutgers. 

If you so desire, wear something Rutgers, NY Mets or the Pittsburgh Pirates to the viewing.

“That’s all folks!” - Porky Pig

(Dad’s favorite cartoon)

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February 19, 2024

3:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Bronson & McNamara Memorial Home
152 North Main St.
Milltown, NJ 08850

Private Final Disposition

Bronson & McNamara Memorial Home
152 North Main St.
Milltown, NJ 08850


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