|Birth: ||Nov. 12, 1972|
|Death: ||Feb. 16, 2006|
Philadelphia Daily News; Tuesday, February 21, 2006, Page 28:
"Kalonji 'Kool' Barnes, 33, a gifted mind
A conversation between Kalonji Ray Barnes and his doctor in a hospital might have gone something like this: Kalonji: "Don't look in that medical book for what's wrong with me. It's not in there." Doctor: "You're so hard-headed. You know everything, don't you?" Kalonji: "Yes, I do." And maybe he did. Kalonji was the kind of person who researched everything, whether it was sports - he staggered experts with his knowledge of teams and their statistics - government, politics, African-American history, international relations, or his own medical condition. Kalonji, known as "Kool" to family and friends, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 2 years and 11 months, but he fought hard to maintain as normal a life as possible. He suffered a stroke several years ago while shoveling snow. After that, there were amputations and a gradual deterioration of his condition. But last Thursday, he was going through an auto trader magazine, checking out a '67 Mustang. "We're going to get this car," he told his mother. "They're asking $5,000. We'll offer $2,000, and if they don't accept it, we'll just walk away." He died that day at the age of 33. He lived in Germantown. "He was just adorable, from day one," said his uncle, Robert Coleman, assistant director of athletics for the school district and chairman of District 12 of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association. "He turned out to be a very special, gifted person." Kalonji got his nickname because he looked like the kid in an advertisement for Kool-Aid, with his round face and dimples. "Kool-Aid" was shortened to "Kool" as he grew up and the name took on added significance. He was definitely cool, always well turned-out, confident and outgoing. His aunt, Joyce Coleman ("Aunt Cookie") recalled that once when he escorted her to a special event, "he looked like John Gotti." Kalonji was so knowledgeable about sports that when Robert Coleman was the defensive coordinator for Germantown High's football team, he would take videos of upcoming opponents to Kalonji for his analysis. "I asked him to break them down, look for weak points," Coleman said. "He would crack his knuckles, stretch and go to work. He helped me a lot." When Coleman operated Bebop's Grocery, at Price and Baynton streets, Kalonji went to work for him, even though he was only in 8th grade at St. Vincent's School. "He was only 5-foot-5," Coleman said. "We had to build up the floor so he could see over the counter. He was so personable people would come in just to talk to him. If there was a game the night before, they would come in to see what he thought about it." Kalonji was born to Frances and Larry Barnes in Abington. In 1990, he graduated from Cardinal Dougherty High School, where he was on the wrestling team. He worked for a time for the Postal Service, Norristown Cutlery and United Parcel Service. One of his proudest accomplishments was coaching the 8th-grade girls' basketball team at St. Martin de Porres School for 10 years in the '90s and in 2000, when the team won a championship. "He was proud of his girls," Robert Coleman said. "Some of his girls went on to play for Frank Greco at Central High. He would say, 'Some of his girls were my girls. I got them ready for Frank Greco.'" Of his nephew's affliction, Coleman said, "When you get dealt a hand like that, you also get a set of wings." Besides his parents and numerous other aunts and uncles, Kalonji is survived by two sisters, Atteya and Naeemah, and three brothers, Nantambu, Atteem and Akeem. Services: Funeral Mass 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Vincent de Paul Church, Price and Lena streets. Friends may call at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the church and at 9 a.m. Thursday. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham."
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery
Created by: Donna Di Giacomo
Record added: Jan 23, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 104075129
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