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Memorial endowment started for slain Pine River graduate and her family

The memory of the Barry family will sponsor memberships for families visiting a museum they treasured.

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Sean, Riana, Shiway and Sadie Barry were killed in April in Duluth.
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DULUTH — The murders of Sean, Riana, Shiway and Sadie Barry, a family who lived in Duluth, sent shock waves not only through Duluth, but the communities in Fairbanks, Alaska, and Pine River as well.

Riana graduated from high school in Pine River. Her father, Terry Schmidt, still lives in the area.

The memory of this loving family of four will now go on to nurture the minds of young children at the Fairbanks Children's Museum thanks to the founding of a memorial endowment in their names.

A troubled family member killed the Barrys on April 20, 2022, in Duluth before claiming his own life. Their loss was felt heavily in the three communities they had called home at some point: Duluth, Fairbanks and, of course, Pine River. Those who remember the family were devastated by the news of their deaths.

"They are greatly missed," said Sonja (Sunny) Winder-Mariske, who grew up with Riana in Pine River and now lives in Duluth. "It's just tragic."

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The Barry family made strong connections everywhere they lived and were well remembered by the people who knew them. After graduating in the 1990s near the top of her class, Riana met Sean while working in Alaska with AmeriCorps.

They lived in Fairbanks for roughly 20 years. During that time they were regulars at the Fairbanks Children's Museum. The family supported the facility, founded in 2006, from the start.

"The family was very involved in the children's museum," said family friend Sara Harriger, in Alaska. "They would spend a lot of time there. The museum serves the whole community with activities for kids and families that are accessible year-round."

https://www.gofundme.com/f/the-barry-family-endowment-at-fcm

Their presence there left a lasting impression that inspired a sense of charity in those who remembered them. They moved to Duluth approximately seven years ago, but they were remembered in Fairbanks.

After their deaths, a group started a GoFundMe page in their honor. The Barry Family Endowment at FCM is designed to provide funding for memberships to families who wish to be part of the Fairbanks Children's Museum.

"Basically it's an indefinite source of funds for the nonprofit to provide, I believe, 10 scholarships for families to have access to the children's musem to help families that otherwise might not be able to afford an annual membership," said Harriger. "The Fairbanks Children's Museum, as the benefactor of the endowment, will continue fundraising over time. Our hope is that it will become a permanent funding stream above and beyond the scholarships."

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Barry family remembered and celebrated at vigil
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The goal is to raise $25,000. As of Tuesday, Sept. 6, they had raised $17,425 from approximately 112 donations. There is no official deadline, but organizers would like to have the endowment active by the end of the year. The fund would provide $180 memberships to 10 families who cannot afford memberships.

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"It's important to us to make sure our loved ones are remembered in a positive way with a legacy that has a positive impact on the community commensurate to the positive impact they had during their life," Harriger said. "They were very active and helped a lot of people. They brought a lot of love into the world so that's why we're very focused on having this endowment that will help people in need to experience joy and connection with the community."

Having lived in Fairbanks for many years, the family was laid to rest there, but their presence continues to be felt everywhere they went.

Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com.

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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