History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
Barr Funeral Home is a family owned and operated neighborhood establishment founded in 1923 by William Barr and his wife Ellen. The original funeral home was run out of the space that is now our coffee room. William built the business through the first years based on service and respect for the family, and a willingness to work with them to achieve a meaningful tribute to the deceased.
William and Ellen raised four children to adulthood before Ellen passed, followed years later with William’s passing in 1958. The funeral home was left to his four children, with William Jr. buying out his three sisters to become sole owner.
William Jr., or Bill as he was called, ran and grew the business with his sister Regina (Jean) and her husband Mike Harrington, both licensed Funeral Directors. In 1970 Jean and Mike bought the business from Bill, and moved their young family into the apartment upstairs.
Mike’s death in 1991, his only son Tim took over the daily funeral home
operation, buying out his mother the following year. Tim continues his family
legacy to this day.
Our Valued Staff
Tim Harrington, Funeral Director / Owner
As a third generation funeral director, I grew up watching my parents have a profound impact on the families they served. I also grew to understand and accept the responsibilities that are necessary to run a neighborhood business such as ours.
Throughout my childhood I listened to the people in our neighborhood tell stories about my parents, and grand parents. Stories that told of how my family had helped them when they were feeling lost, alone and vulnerable. Stories of my family helping their families get through some of the roughest times they had ever experienced. These stories had an enormous impact on me and gave me great pride in who I am and what we do. It was because of those stories that I choose to continue our family tradition. It continues to be a decision that carries great responsibility, but also tremendous personal rewards.
I pride myself on being an active member of Chicago's Edgewater community. I am currently serving on the Board of the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, and I volunteer as the top adult leader in the Chicago Area Sea Scouts. I have also served as a city commissioner of SSA #26, a member of the Edgewater Community Council Board of Directors, the board of the Edgewater Development Corporation, and I have been elected as an officer in both the local Lions Club and Kiwanis.
I draw my greatest strength from my wife, Joan. She not only supports me mentally, but helps in the "behind the scene" running of our business. She does this in addition to working as a full time teacher at Northside Catholic Academy, volunteering at our church, not to mention raising our three children.
Together my family is here to serve your family; just like we have every day since my grandfather started in 1923.
Diane Toritto, Office Administrator
Always smiling, Diane takes care of most of the daily paperwork and record keeping. She has been a wonderful asset to our company since 2013. She is always willing to help, and can assist you with most any questions you may have. She is also our "forms" expert, and is always willing to help. Diane lives in the neighborhood where she and her husband are raising two boys.
Anne Kelly, Administrative Assistant
Anne has been a core asset to our office for many years. Her professionalism and pleasant smile hide a person driven to get you what you need. She is a strong advocate for the families she assists, and makes sure that not only is all the paperwork is in order, but that the family is comfortable and getting all the answers to their questions in a timely manner. Anne lives in the neighborhood and is raising two young boys.
William T. Gaynor, Evening Assistant
With us since the late 70's, Bill continues as a dedicated employee, committed to helping you in any way he can.