Joseph M. Bargar, age 70

of Quincy

Joseph M. Bargar, age 70

Joseph M. Bargar, age 70, of Quincy, died suddenly from complications of Covid-19, on Friday, September 29, 2023 at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton.

Joe was born in Boston to the late Marshall and Edith B. (Rantz) Bargar. He graduated from Hope High School in Providence, R.I., Class of 1971. For over twenty years he lived in Quincy and had previously lived in Marshfield.

Music was Joe’s passion. He sang and played keyboards in bands as a young teenager in Providence, quickly becoming a well-known and treasured presence in the New England music scene. A tremendous talent, he was gifted with a voice of unrivaled authenticity. Early in his career he performed with such legendary acts as Roomful of Blues, Scott Hamilton, Duke Robillard, James Montgomery, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Joe lived in New York in the late ’70s and early ’80s, playing in the city with performers such as: Sly & The Family Stone, Robbie Robertson; blues greats Otis Rush, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Son Seals, and John Lee Hooker; and soul masters Percy Sledge, Clarence Carter, and Solomon Burke. His soulful vocals and masterful keyboards grace recordings by several major artists, including Diana Ross and “Late Show” bandleader Paul Shaffer.

After moving back to Massachusetts, Joe became a founding member of Soul Kitchen, a nine piece rhythm and blues band utilizing some of the best players in Boston. Joe’s keyboard playing and unique, soulful vocal style were central to the band’s sound for 17 years. Later he headlined Joe Bargar and the Soul Providers, an all-star rhythm and blues lineup whose gifted members have backed everyone from James Cotton to Dr. John. Joe loved playing in local bistros and clubs around town. Sharing his music with people was his life’s work.

Lovingly referred to by his musician friends as the “Rabbi of Soul,” he lit up a room with his presence alone. When he started to sing and play, everyone was moved to get up and dance!

A Boston sports savant, Joe had a penchant for making color commentary during games, only to have it echoed moments later by the television analysts. The domination of his beloved Boston teams was pure bliss. He was watching from the end zone when Vinatieri made the kick in the snow. Fenway Park was sacred ground to him.

Music was his passion, but Joe’s greatest joy was his family. He was devoted to his parents, wife, children, grandchildren, sister, and of course his dogs Sweetie Pie and Millie!

Beloved husband of Janet C. (Colclough) Bargar of Quincy.

Devoted father to Lindsey Keogh and her husband Michael of Jamaica Plain, Sam Bargar of Park City Utah, Dan Bargar of St. Petersburg, Florida, and Jesse Bargar of Quincy.

Loving grandfather of Madelyn and Michael Keogh.

Irreplaceable brother of Cynthia Bargar and her husband Nick Thorkelson of Provincetown.

Cherished son-in-law of William and Marion Colclough of Quincy.

Dear brother-in-law of Gail O’Brien and Laura Ippolito.

Treasured uncle of Ruby Thorkelson, Brendan, Sean, Erin, and Liam O’Brien, Michael and Joseph Ippolito.

Joe is also survived by many loving friends.

Visiting hours will be held at the Sweeney Brothers Home for Funerals, 1 Independence Avenue, Quincy, on Tuesday, October 10, from 4 – 7 p.m. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. An Interfaith Funeral Service will be conducted at Saint Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church, 1 Linden Street, Quincy, on Wednesday, October 11, at 1 p.m. Rabbi Karen Landy and Reverend Eric Litman will co-officiate. Cremation to follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Joe’s memory may be made to Quincy Band Boosters, where a fund will be established in his name to assist elementary school students’ band participation. Donations to the fund may be mailed to: Quincy Band Boosters, c/o Janet Bargar, 205 Manet Avenue, Quincy, MA 02169.


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  • The Quincy Track Club community is saddened by the passing of Joe Bargar. Thoughts and prayers to Janet and Jesse both former QTC members. I loved hearing Joe play in the amphitheater at Pageant Field. He had a personality that would fill a room or a stadium. Always a great conversationalist and a loving father and husband.

  • Your talent and personality will be greatly missed

  • Many of us love music. Joe lived music. It swirled around inside and came out through his fingers. A keyboard master, he left me, and others, in awe. His devotion to Janet and Jesse pleased us all, and our hearts ache for them and his other kids.
    Tonight I’ll get out that cd and listen again, thinking how we’ll miss the man.

  • Janet, I am heartbroken for your loss. You and Jesse deserved a longer time with Joe, but you both will rely on each other to keep his memory alive and live the life he would have wanted for you. Be brave, be strong, and keep going knowing that you have friends and family who support you and love you both. I wish I were there to give you a hug. Much love to you and Jesse and your parents.

  • Janet, sorry I cannot be at Joe’s service. You and Jesse are very muchin my thoughts. Loveto you all.

  • Knew Joe from Bottomlands Blues Band when we both resided in RI. A true professional and talented musician. IIRC I met Joe on the East Side of Providence on the same day I met Dennis McCarthy and Tommy Enright. A true triumvirate of talent! All sadly have now passed. My condolences to all of the family! He will be missed!

  • Joe was a fantastic person. We have had the pleasure of his company along with Janet and Jesse on many occasions. Thanks to a kindergarten friendship between Jesse and Maddie that continues now into High School. . Janet and Jesse our hearts break for you. Along with all those who called Joe his family. Music is a gift being able to express one’s self through music is heaven on earth. Every so often God calls his musical angels back to him. Joe was a musical angel on earth we were so blessedly that the earthly world had him for 70 years. Love you all Veronica, Susan and Maddie

  • I am sorry I can’t be there – Joe meant a lot to all of us. He was my first musical colleague and a good friend as well. I miss him already. My heart goes out to Janet and Jesse – I can’t even imagine how hard this is.

  • Words can`t express the loss I feel. I`m devastated. Joe`s friendship meant the world to me. There has never been a more beautiful soul on this earth. I`ll miss him each and every day. Rest in peace my dear friend.

  • My heart goes out to Janet, Jessie, Lindsay, Sam, Dan, Geri, and all of Joe’s family and friends.

    The universe throws curveballs and Joe’s death is absolutely one such pitch.

    May the best memories of Joe be with you all always.

    Joe playing of keyboards was masterful. His voice was a unique “gift from the gods”. Music and dance are “foods for our souls”. Joe Bargar provided a smorgasbord to so many, for a very long time.

    Again, my sincere condolences go out to you all.

  • There’s something to be said for a person who follows his passion because it is an innate part of who he is. I’ve always admired Joe for his commitment to playing his music and sharing his joy.
    Joe and Janet are two of a kind, brave enough to live life on their own terms. Together they complimented each other’s sense of adventure. In time, the memories of these adventures will provide solace.
    “The Rabbi of Soul” was an original and a kind and gentle man. Joe was one of the good ones.

  • My cousin Joe, a musician extraordinaire, a warm, authentic and loving
    man. A mensch in the truest sense of the word, you will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved you.May his memory be for a blessing.

  • Dear Janet and Jesse,
    Please accept my deepest sympathy at the sudden passing of Joe. He was an extraordinary man and such a talented musician. I will remember his kindness and his amazing voice. Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend the services, but please be assured of my thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.
    Carol Ann Marx

  • Joe, my great friend since we first met in the band in 1976… thousands of gigs which only further cemented our personal and musical friendship. You left far to early, but the wonderful thing about your music is how it touched all of us who had the opportunity to know and play with you. To your children, Lindsey, Sam, Dan and Jesse … take comfort in knowing that your dad was special and the gifts he gave to all of us will always be cherished. Joe, love you my brother, the world is a lesser place without your presence but we are all enriched by having known you and called you a friend. Rip, vern

  • Sending condolences and love, thinking of you Mrs. bargar.

  • We have lost not only a greatly talented musician but also a decent caring human being whose positive spirit shine brightly !!
    Gone too soon Took sudden. Prayers for healing for his family🙏
    May he Rest Peacefully

  • Joe was so Much to to many, a great friend ,musician, father, husband My first gig with Joe was probably 20yrs or more ago. Since that every time we’d see each other, it’s like we picked up right where we left off …the jokes ,the music and the friendship was one I will never forget.. He was one of a kind and I will miss him and certainly think of him every time I play. RIP brother

  • Dearest Janet & Jesse my heart breaks for both of you. There is no doubt that Joe will be sorely missed by countless people in the music community & beyond… taken way too soon.
    I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. May the memory of his kind spirit live on in your hearts forever.

  • Janet and Jesse,

    There are no words to express the immense loss of Joe. What a kind and wonderful person. My heart goes out to you both and I am grateful I was a witness to the love he had for you both. My heartfelt condolences. Missy