Remembering My Friend Bobby
By Randy Renner
Most every time I saw Bob Barry Jr. I called him Bobby. Once in a while "Junior" or "BBJ" but usually always Bobby because that's how he was introduced to me.
It was the fall of 1975 and I was a freshman at OSU. I was interning in the Sports Information Department and that fall and also the fall of 1976 I was one of the spotters for Bob Barry Sr. in the Cowboy radio booth. I was responsible for the visiting team and Larry Hutson was responsible for OSU. We either pointed out or simply told Bob Sr. through the intercom who made tackles and who had come in the game. Most of the time Bob already knew but he wanted us to tell him anyway.
That job was one of the great thrills of my early college days and usually a couple games a year Bobby would accompany his dad on the trips to Stillwater and sit in the booth also and help out with stats or something.
When I walked into the booth that day I saw a young guy with a distinct resemblance to the man I first called Mr. Barry but who had quickly told me, "I'm just Bob," and then laughing he said, "But I've been called other names too."
As soon as I walked in Bob said, "Randy this is my son Bobby, he's a freshman too down at OU."
A few years later I was working at Channel 7 in Lawton doing sports and Bobby was working across the river at Channel 6 in Wichita Falls. We'd see each other once in a while, usually when Cameron University in Lawton played Midwestern University in Wichita Falls.
We both came to Oklahoma City at about the same time, he stayed in sports while I moved to the news side.
In more recent years with my focus back on sports I saw him all the time at various events. He always had a smile and a joke. Wanted to know about my family and my kids.
We shared memories from the old days when we had time. He was a joy to be around.
When I was a kid growing up in the 60s I listened to Bob Sr. call OU football games and in the 70s and 80s watched him do sports on TV and up until today I listened to Bobby on the radio and watched him on TV because I valued his opinion and wanted to see the next crazy thing he would do.
Late last week on his radio show he joked about how back in the day he and his buddies would ride their bicycles behind the truck that fogged their neighborhood with DDT spray to kill the mosquitoes. I laughed so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks because I had done the exact same thing growing up in Waurika.
Friday night, on what would turn out to be his last sportscast on Channel 4, he opened his segment by singing the lyrics to Carole King's "I Feel the Earth Move," and I laughed at my friends antics yet again.
Saturday evening when mutual friends called and texted with the horrible, shocking news the tears rolled down my cheeks again but the laughter had died in sorrow.
I had much the same feeling Saturday night as I had on a cold winter's night 15 years earlier when my buddy Bill Teegins was killed in the OSU plane crash.
Healthy guys full of life and laughter gone in an instant. No chance to say goodbye, no chance to say again how much I loved them and how much their friendship meant.
We all still have the memories and the laughter is there again too as we all tell our favorite "Junior" stories, but make no mistake, sports broadcasting in Oklahoma will never be quite the same again because the voices of Bill and Bob and now Bobby are silent.
Sleep well my friends, we will all miss you forever.