Bernard "Barney" Diehl

Barney Diehl

"Barney" Gives His Life To Youth Center

Over in Brookline they say "Barney" Diehl practically gave the past five years of his life to the town's Community Center.

Last night the 49-year old handyman, who had worked unselfishly "to give the kids a place in which to have fun," gave the remainder of his life to that project, proposed as a memorial to the dead of the two World Wars.

He was stricken, apparently by a heart attack, while laying concrete under a porch he had constructed for the settlement house. His son, Bernard Jr., who was helping him at the time, was to have left for the service today.

The self-denying office worker in the County Public Works Department, held a variety of skills in the building line. And he put them all to use, usually into the long hours of the night, to push work on the Center. He even neglected upkeep of his own home which he built several years ago overlooking the 20-acre community project.

Building Playground

Mr. Diehl, a member of the Board of Directors for the Center near Brookline Boulevard, and Breining Street, didn't want to see the project lag. Original plans called for an amphitheater, football field, skating rink, playgrounds, baseball park, and several other features.

He did what he could to build the playground and had been working most of the night recently to lengthen the ball park with fill brought in from St. Mary's High School. Many nights, too tired to make it home, he slept at the settlement house.

Shuttled To Work

"Barney" had shuttled to work from Brookline to the City-County Building since 1937. He was a member and an usher at Resurrection Church, Brookline. He also belonged to the Holy Name Society of that church.

He had lived in Brookline for 22 years.

He leaves his widow, Margaret Freund Diehl, three sons, Bernard, Raymond and Donald; three brothers, Alvin, Frank and Fred Diehl; and a sister, Mrs. Minnie Oswald, all of Pittsburgh.

A solemn requiem his mass will be sung at 10:00am Monday in Resurrection Church.

* Reprinted from the Pittsburgh Press, September 28, 1951 *

The photo and article were sent in by Raymond Diehl, son of Barney Diehl, who now lives in Scott Township. Raymond was seventeen years old when his father passed away. The Diehl family originally lived on Fordham Avenue and moved to Breining Street. They built their home on land purchased from the Anderson family, owners of the 20-acre farm that eventually became the Brookline Community Center. The hard work and sacrifice of men like Barney Diehl and so many others were not in vain. Today, the Brookline Community Center, or Brookline Memorial Park, is one of the finest in the City of Pittsburgh. To learn more about the evolution of Brookline Park, click here.

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