Tribute To Bob Barry Jr.

Tribute to Bob Barry Jr

Oklahoma has lost a broadcasting legend and I’m mourning the loss of a dear friend.  Bob Barry Jr. has passed away…

I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence. Bobby was a rock star. Surely he’d never leave us this soon. He was always the life of the party. Junior never needed sleep or an on-air script. He could ad-lib better than anyone. As a young journalist, Bobby taught me there were only three things to ask… Why, why and why?

I can’t figure it out…”why?”

He was killed yesterday on his motorcycle as a scumbag with no license, carrying drugs, made a U turn in his pathway. As always, Bobby was full speed ahead and bringing it peddle to the metal. His heart and peddle were always jammed to the floorboard for us all. That’s why we loved him.

I first met Bob Barry Jr. in 1985. I was a freshman and the University of Oklahoma and wanted to be in the TV sports business. But more importantly, I wanted to learn marketing. I realized he “had it”.  He knew marketing. I clung to his every move and knew I was watching a legend.

Bobby took me under his wings and for some reason liked me. I was an 18 year-old punk from Broken Bow, OK. He treated me like royalty. Why? I made him laugh a lot…he loved to laugh. From scores of chuckles, a great friendship was born.

I learned how to ask questions from him. I learned how to work a room from him. I learned how to speak in front of people from him. I learned how to deliver a sales pitch from him. I learned how to love people more… because of him. He always found something great in everyone.

Bobby loved people. He craved interaction with others…he needed it like oxygen. No time for “downtime”.  He had to hang with folks.

His father was the legendary Bob Barry Sr. He was born into Oklahoma broadcasting royalty but never showed it. Bobby worked his tail off. 18-20 hour days…I saw it.

He’s helped me immensely through the years. A reference from Bob Barry Jr. was golden. Bobby helped me many times. Anything I needed, he’d do it.

We enjoyed hundreds of hours together in news helicopters, satellite trucks, stinky vans and horrible press conference buffets. We spent time together with legends like Gary Player, Barry Switzer, Barry Sanders, Brian Bosworth, Monica Seles and James Garner. I could name drop hundreds more.  He connected with them all and they loved him. Why?

We last spoke a couple of weeks ago. He’d been wanting to play Cedar Creek Golf Course in Beavers Bend and take his wife to our Mountain Visa cabin. He was planning something great for her…only he knew why.

I’ve been fortunate to be around many national media people through the years. None were better than Bob Barry Jr. Especially behind the scenes. He could prepare a sportscast in a matter of minutes. Bobby was lightening fast as a deadline approached. He could work under pressure like none other.

There are so many emotions flowing now as tears pound my keyboard. I’d thought several times  to tell him “wear a helmet on your motorcycle.” I was going to tell him the next time we spoke. Why didn’t I tell him sooner?

Why did the guy with no license and dope in his vehicle make a U Turn in front of him?

Bobby, you’ve always had the scoop…

We’re struggling.

We need one last breaking story. Please help us understand “why?”

Jerry Isbell