Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Mario Barbera Jr.

IRONWOOD, Mich. - Mario Barbera Jr., 37, of Ironwood passed away on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020.

He was born on March 12, 1983, son of Mario Sr. and Karen (Edens) Barbera.

Mario was a kind-hearted soul who lived his life with compassion and was friendly to everyone and every creature. He accepted and honored all circles of life as he navigated through finding his space in this world. He was a minimalist and enjoyed time with his family the most.

To say he was fascinated with astrology, sci-fi, metaphysics and anything cosmic in this universe would be an understatement. He was interested in discovering everyone's birth chart, as his was represented in a tattoo on his left forearm. He never missed an opportunity to watch the sunset and the stars and planets rise in the night sky. Mario was a Pisces. The stars and planet, Mars, that make up his astrological sign/constellation along with the waning full moon, have been clearly visible at 10 p.m. in the Eastern sky every night since his passing. He found serenity and wonder in all the pieces that make up our amazing universe. He always appreciated the "little fluffy clouds" in the daytime sky. Jessica, his older sister, inspired his love of nature and eco-minded awareness. They were the recycling gurus of the family.

Mario always pushed conversations on life's big subjects, religion being one of them. Conversations on this subject with his dad, Mario Sr. meant they could continue to converse well into the night. He was most interested in the Catholic Church and was a member of Our Lady of Peace in Ironwood. He frequently met up for mass with his grandpa, Frank. He followed Jesus' way of life.

Mario was an avid gamer since the days of Zelda. When Nintendo came out on the market, his really cool grandparents bought him one; and he practically wore it out. He mastered every Mario Bros. game, and of course, we were all Luigi when we played with him. His sister, Heather, was his most consistent rival and closest friend. Collecting Magic cards was another hobby he loved.

Speaking of grandparents, his Grandma Rita recognized his artsy eye for all things sparkly. Mario loved diamonds and aspired to be a jeweler or gemologist. He was a gem collector and our jewelry aficionado.

When Mario lived and worked in Portland, Oregon, he also played hard. He practiced the art of fire dancing and was very impressive and frightening with his skills. He biked the city on the most minimalist of bikes, a white Surly Steamroller. This was a single-speed commuter bike known for its ability to be gritty enough to handle tough city roads, but also be smooth and fast. A bike that fit him well. He enjoyed being with his friends in Portland, a small group that he held dear. He was shy, but very generous and caring to those he knew best.

Mario made his way back home and was happy to help out at the family business, Joe's Pasty Shop, where he worked side by side with his mother, Karen.

Our son, brother, uncle and friend was a big spirit and will be deeply missed. His presence will be felt with every cosmic light in the night sky.

Mario would have wanted to thank each and every one of you that helped him during his times of trouble and struggle. Please consider reaching out and helping others in need by donating to the Northern Alliance on Mental Illness NAMI, or Gogebic County Community Mental Health, 778 E. Ayer St., Ironwood, MI 49938.

A private memorial service will be held.

The family has chosen McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home of Ironwood to honor Mario's legacy of life. You can leave a condolence or a tribute at

"Moonlight drowns out all but the brightest stars." - J.R.R. Tolkien