Barnes, Greiner, and Murphy honored for giving the gift of life

The Giving Tree, located in the Main Entrance Lobby (Elevator E, Level 1), pays tribute to eye, organ, and tissue donors and their grieving family members who had the strength and courage to consider donation at such a difficult time. The Gift of Life Donors highlighted here portray just a few of the faces of those who recently gave the ultimate gift through the selfless act of donation.

Candy “Freida” Barnes

Nov. 17, 1960 – June 15, 2017 

Andrea “Annie” Barnes

Aug. 8, 1989 – July 28, 2017 

“A mother and daughter’s love is never separated.”

When Candy Barnes, age 56, died at UI Hospitals & Clinics on June 15, 2017, surrounded by her loving family, this quote rang true with her only daughter, Andrea Barnes. Candy and Andrea shared a strong and adoring mother-daughter bond. Just 6 weeks following Candy’s death, tragedy brought the Barnes family back to UI Hospitals & Clinics; Andrea, only 27 years old, died unexpectedly as the result of a pulmonary embolism.

In her younger years, Candy “Freida” Barnes enjoyed watching stock car races at the local tracks and became famous as “the hotdog lady,” happily serving everyone free hotdogs following the races. She loved taking motorcycle rides, spending time at their family cabin on the Cedar River, and socializing at the semi-annual fish fries provided by their town’s volunteer fire department. She and her husband Jim lived their entire married lives in Letts, Iowa, and their children were planning a 35th wedding anniversary celebration for their parents in August. Candy was hospitalized and died 2 months shy of their special day.

Andrea (“Annie” to her family and friends), was the youngest in her family—growing up with two older brothers—but is fondly remembered as a “little sister” to many others. She was working as a senior loan processor/closer at Community Bank and Trust in Muscatine at the time of her death. She also lived in the small southeastern Iowa town of Letts, where her infectious laugh is missed by all. Like her father had done for more than 40 years, Annie proudly served as a volunteer firefighter for the Letts Community Volunteer Fire Department.

Both Candy and Andrea’s greatest joy was the time they spent with each other, their family, and their friends. With intent to help others, the selfless generosity of this devoted mother and daughter pair became their legacy in death as tissue and cornea donors.

Robert D. Greiner

April 14, 1946 – May 13, 2017

With no disrespect intended, family members concede, “Robert D. Greiner was a beloved old crank.”

Robert loved the parts of his family and his life that mattered most to him. He fell in love with the water—first as a child of California; then as a reluctant submariner serving in a floating tin can that drove him nuts; then again as an angler, a truly joyous endeavor that was as much a way of life and “raison d’etre” (reason for being) as just a line out there in the water. He caught more trout than trees in the final analysis.

Despite what he may have feared, Robert will be remembered always as a loving father and grandfather; an intellectual and an artist; and a wonderful teacher, whether he meant to be or not.

Robert died at UI Hospitals & Clinics at the age of 71 years. Cornea donation and transplantation was important to his family, so with their consent, Robert unselfishly provided the gift of sight to two individuals with seriously impaired vision.

Richard James Murphy

Aug. 20, 1964 – Oct. 1 2017 

Richard Murphy of Belle Plaine (formerly of Tama) lived most of his life with physical disabilities resulting from severe injuries sustained in a car accident that almost ended his life at only 9 months of age. To this day, his loving mother credits UI Hospitals & Clinics for saving her infant son’s life.

Almost 53 years later, Richard was involved in another tragic accident and was again transferred to UI Hospitals & Clinics. Sadly, his injuries were too extensive, and he died on Oct. 1, 2017.

Despite his lifelong physical disabilities, Richard dealt with his challenges and became a talented woodworker and excellent mechanic. He worked as a truck driver for many years and loved to participate in arm wrestling matches. In life, he was an open hearted, selfless man to his friends and large family, including his five children. In death, his altruism was evident as a registered donor and his family supported his decision to become an organ, eye, and tissue donor so that countless others might have another chance at life, sight, and mobility.

Soon after his death, Richard’s mother received letters of gratitude from both of his cornea recipients: a 57-year-old female and a 78-year-old male, both residing in Iowa. Becky wrote, “The cornea transplant will allow me to continue to drive, work as a pharmacist, and assist my elderly mother so that she may remain in her own home.” And Harry stated, “I’m enjoying better sight because of an unselfish, generous decision made by an individual or family. I can offer only my humble ‘thank you’! Someone had to be a donor, so I could be a recipient.”

The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree honors and thanks donors and their families, and it inspires each of us to consider our wishes regarding donor designation. Designate your wishes this year at iowadonorregistry.org or 1-877-366-6742.

A reception will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, in John Colloton Pavilion (Elevator F, Level 1).

The butterfly ornaments adorning the tree each identify someone who offered their final gift of life and/or sight through organ, eye, and tissue donation at UI Hospitals & Clinics during 2017. The butterfly symbolizes the change and transformation of life and death.

See all UI Health Care 2018 holiday events.

2 comments

    • My daughter, Tabatha Smith, was a donor. She passed away 3 years ago. I haven’t been able to see the Giving tree yet. I hope to see it this year. God Bless to all the donors out there.

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