I got some sad news at Bendheim today. Joe died last month in his sleep from stroke complications. Below is what Bendheim wrote after Joe got AGG's first life time achievement award.
"Bendheim Employee Presented the Inaugural American Glass Guild Lifetime Achievement Award
In preparation of receiving the Joe Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award; from left to right: Robert Jayson, Joe Barnes, and Fred Jayson. Joseph Barnes of Bendheim received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Glass Guild (AGG), honoring his lifetime dedication to the stained glass industry. Joe’s career has spanned over 60 years, of which almost 40 are with Bendheim. He is the first recipient of the award now to be presented annually as the “Joe Barnes Lifetime Achievement Award.”
“Joe’s love of people and deeply rooted work ethic have made him a great asset to Bendheim and the stained glass industry,” said Robert Jayson, President of Bendheim. “Joe is known to be the first man in to work and one of the last to leave; one of the few who can always be relied upon to do the job, no matter what the task. I cannot imagine how many thousands of people he has helped with color selection, substitutions, shipping questions or just “how-to” advice. From assisting visitors to our warehouse to answering a telephone call, Joe has always been there to help.”
Joe Barnes himself smiles as he reflects on his lifelong journey in the field. “I got in the glass business by accident, and I never thought I would stay in it for so long,” he admits.
After World War II, Joe found his first glass job at Leo Popper’s importers of specialty glass, almost by accident. He spent years learning the business under Popper’s guidance. In 1969, Popper closed its doors, and Barnes brought his skills to Bendheim.
Joe Barnes started out at Bendheim with a variety of jobs, including customer service, glass selection, cutting, and delivery. He is still actively involved in the company’s stained glass division, and has many loyal customers to date.
“I love working with glass,” Barnes explains. ”It has charm, beauty and so many design possibilities, there is so much you can do with it. The other great part of this job is working with people. I enjoy talking to them and helping them choose their glass.”
Joe has seen Bendheim grow from a small family-owned business to a national specialty glass company with five divisions, over 100 employees, facilities on both coasts, and a New York City showroom. As the company has evolved, Joe’s commitment to work has not diminished: With his children grown up, Bendheim is as much a part of his life as ever.
“I do not want to retire. I love the family-like friendliness and connection with people here. I do not think such atmosphere exists in companies any more. This job is my life.”"
I remember him from when he worked at Popper around the corner, when they closed he moved over to Benheim, so I been around Joe since 1960 or so when I worked and lived in NYC. He was always a great friend and knew what he was doing.
I will miss him. CZ
I always looked forward to seeing Joe at Bendheim. When I was new to the field, his gentle presence made it a friendly place. A month- or -so- ago I was pleased to hear that he was having a productive retirement,even making some stained glass. I shall miss him.