The late Terry Wayne Barber, 68, made an immeasurable impact on youth sports, his friends say.
Barber’s body was found June 26 in his Walnut Grove Road home, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office said. Police said they believe he was killed two days before, and last week they announced the arrest of three suspects.
Barber’s funeral was last week at Roselawn Memorial Gardens, according to his obituary.
But it was his passion for all sports that his friends are choosing to remember.
“I’ve known Terry for most of my life. You’d see him at the ballgames for sure,” said Bill Wilson, a real estate agent. “He loved the Vols. He was a big SEC guy. He did a lot of basketball, baseball refereeing.”
Barber sold SEC merchandise, especially University of Tennessee items, from a truck in the Christiana area.
“He was always just a good guy,” Wilson said.
Murfreesboro Post sports editor Monte Hale said, “I’ve known Terry pretty much all my life. He wasn’t hard to find; you’d go to the ball game and find Terry Barber.”
Barber served as a softball coach and was a TSSAA umpire years ago when fast-pitch became popular in Murfreesboro, Hale said. He was also the PA announcer for Oakland High School many years ago.
Bart Fite, superintendent of Murfreesboro’s Sports*Com recreation center, said he graduated from Central with Barber, whom he said was an umpire for more than 25 years.
“Everybody in town knew Terry,” Fite said. “He was a very popular guy. You could see him at games everywhere. When I was sick, he brought me UT pajamas to wear.”
Fite said he would pick Barber up at Cracker Barrel and they would drive to Vanderbilt University games.
“If he didn’t have a ticket, he could find one,” Fite said.
Barber recently had recovered from heart surgery, Fite said. He added he would have taken Barber out to eat for his birthday, which was recently as well, but he had not yet recovered. He was feeling well enough to attend the Class of 1969’s 50th reunion, Fite said.
“We’ll miss him,” Fite said. “It’s a shame his life ended this way.”
Editor's note: This story has been corrected. Bill Wilson did not attend school with Barber.