Martin P. Barhite, age 66, of Clifford, died Thursday evening, November 15, 2012, at the Geisinger Community Medical Center, Scranton following a courageous battle with leukemia surrounded by his loving family. His wife of 20 years is the former Christine M. Bomgardner.
Born September 19, 1946 in Masthope, Pa., Pike County, he is the son of May (Rosemier) Barhite of Forest City and the late Martin Fletcher Barhite.
Martin was the proud owner and operator, along with his sons, of Martin Barhite Excavating, Clifford for 45+ years. He was an avid hunter and enjoyed tinkering with his bulldozers. His family was so important and he cherished the time he spent with them.
Because Martin was such a hard worker and devoted to his work, the family thought the following poem, "Ode To The Earthmover" by Rita Bates was a true reflection of him. It reads:
The bucket burrowed deep in the rich black dirt. Beads of sweat glistened on the man's muscles as he pulled the steering levers. He watched the bucket raise high into the air and empty into the truck. The rumble in his stomach told him it must be near noon. He pulled out his pocket watch and checked the time. He raised his hand to signal the two men working nearby as he jumped from the tracks of his machine into the soft fresh earth. He lifted his hat and ran his hand through his hair. "Gonna be a hot one today," he told the two men walking towards him.
Who is this man? He's an earthmover. The small time excavating contractor. He is a different breed. He likes a drink and talks about equipment. He tells jokes and talks about equipment. He looks when a pretty woman walks by and talks about equipment. He lives, breathes, eats and sleeps his machinery. He may never be rich, but he can say, "I did it my way."
Many big excavating contractors across this country have larger, better equipment, and do bigger work. But thank God for the small guy. Without him, who would dig our cellars, put in driveways and small roads, dig ponds, septics, swimming pools, drains in the fields, and the list goes on.
He's not afraid to jump off a bulldozer, grab a hand shovel and start digging. He'll cut a tree that stands in his way. He waits for no one. His only thought: get the job done and move on to the next one. You can see him moving machinery late at night or before dawn. He's no eight to five man. He sometimes works half the night repairing a piece of equipment so his men can be on the job first thing in the morning. Lucky the wife who can find him when her child is being born. Lucky the excavator that finds the wife who understands his needs. He is a man with a passion.
He receives very little recognition. He blasts and digs a cellar, then puts a driveway in where once stood a mound of rock. A builder comes and builds a house. The excavator put drains and a swale in a field that at one time was a swamp. The landscaper sows seed and rakes. When a buyer comes along, they say, "What a beautiful house and lawn!" Who ever sees the job the bulldozer operator does? To the layman his work is covered.
If the small excavating contractor makes a thousand dollars, nine hundred goes to meet his payroll, taxes, insurance, medical, telephone, gas, oil, fuel, tires and parts for break downs. He must feed and clothe his family and worry about the new bottom his machine needs next winter. As you can see, not many small excavating contractors become millionaires.
He is a man of his word. You may find he swears and talks rough. He looks as tough as the calluses on his hands. But you will find his heart as soft as the dirt he digs. Ask one of these men for a favor and they will move heaven and earth to do it. Jeans and faded shirts are their uniform. They are men among men; they change the face of the earth.
He is survived by two daughters, Sally Heckendorn & husband Chris of Carlisle, Pa.; and Grace Levai & husband, Frank of Lenoxville, Pa.; three sons, Martin Barhite & wife, Lisa; Michael Barhite & wife, Elki; and Tyler Barhite, all of Clifford, Pa.; one stepson, Doug Szymanski of Clifford, Pa.; one stepdaughter, Katy Szymanski of Clifford, Pa.; eleven grandchildren, Samantha, Dane, Jamie, Frankie, Sydney, Alex, Emily, Charlize, Kylie, Michael & Brody; one sister, Shirley Barrows of Tenn.; one brother, Mickey Barhite of Pleasant Mount, Pa.; several nieces & nephews.
He was preceded in death by one sister, Eleanor White.
The funeral will be held Monday morning, November 19, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. from the Shifler-Parise Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 18 Airport Road, Clifford, celebrated by Pastor Vernon Tompkins, officiating. Interment, Indian Orchard Cemetery, Honesdale.
Friends may call Sunday, November 18, 2012 from 2-4 & 7-9 p.m. and Monday morning from 9-10 a.m.
For directions, to send on-line condolences to the family or to view his online memorial scrapbook, please visit www.parisefuneralhome.com