The Passing of Barry Heyl
Contact: Daniel Ibarra, 956-571-2785 x324
Barry Heyl, an active participant in the park's living history program, passed away on February 3, 2010, after a battle with cancer.
Barry had an extended career as a teacher, including 35 years at McAllen Memorial High School in McAllen, Texas. During that time, he received multiple awards for his teaching ability.
He also had a passion for history and living history. He became interested in the Civil War and participated in a number of living history and reenactment events that focused on that conflict. He shared that passion with his students by creating a Living History and Civil War club at his school. Each year, he led a summer trip to Pennsylvania so that his students could participate in the commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg.
These interests ultimately led Barry to Palo Alto. When the park began to organize its living history program in 2007, he was one of the first recruits. He participated extensive military drill sessions in the summer of 2007 and became a fixture on the cannon crew during public events. Up until he fell ill, he was a dedicated and reliable member of the park's "Chaparral Company," and rarely missed an event.
He also understood the importance of these types of activities. Although he served as a "soldier" for his own enjoyment, he also believed that he needed to do it for the benefit of the residents-especially the children-of the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. His service at Palo Alto Battlefield was merely an example of his longstanding concern for the need to provide positive opportunities and activities for local children
Did You Know?
No official U.S. battle map exists for Palo Alto. Lieutenant J. Edmund Blake, who was charged with drawing the map, accidentally shot himself and died just hours after the clash.