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Memories & Candles

“Mary Beth So sorry to read of Will's passing you are in my thoughts and prayers Effie (Wolford) Smith ”
1 of 17 | Posted by: Effie J.Smith - Mansfield, OH

“Mary, The thing that stands out to me about you is your great love for the Lord and your family. Every day I spend on this earth, I am more certain...Read More »
2 of 17 | Posted by: Laurie Keller - Ashland, OH

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your beautiful family. ”
3 of 17 | Posted by: Dan & Nancy Lykins - Mansfield, OH

“So sorry to hear of your loss. Your family are in my thoughts and prayers. ”
4 of 17 | Posted by: Peggy Stedtler - Apollo Beach, FL

“Mary, We received word from my Mom and Dad about Will's passing.At this time it's hard for me not to question God's will but I know Will is up...Read More »
5 of 17 | Posted by: Jon Milligan - Cincinnati , OH

“To Mary and family, my deepest sympathy to you at this time. I worked for Will at H&B Man. for a year. He was a great boss and had great vision as to...Read More »
6 of 17 | Posted by: Margie Nickles - Ashland, OH

“Sorry to hear of your loss, my thoughts and prayers are with you all! ”
7 of 17 | Posted by: Rashell Yochem (Goble) - Ontario , OH

“Mary, Jim Eisert introduced us to Will. He was a wonderful man. He will be missed by many. Hold on to all those wonderful memories that you have...Read More »
8 of 17 | Posted by: Billy Fisher - Mercer, MO

“Mary, I am so terribly sorry for your loss. Will had been through so much I was almost convinced he was immortal. No words can help, but I hope there...Read More »
9 of 17 | Posted by: Kathy England - Parma, OH

“Our thoughts and prayers are with your entire family during this difficult time. ”
10 of 17 | Posted by: Valerie & Dino DeNero and families - OH

“I met Will shortly after his motorcycle accident to evaluate and treat his fractured jaw. Throughout his extensive dental treatment he never...Read More »
11 of 17 | Posted by: Jeffrey Schmunk D.D.S. - OH

“My Dear Sister in Christ, My heart breaks with yours as you go through this difficult journey. As I mentioned to you, the Lord gives you the...Read More »
12 of 17 | Posted by: Jeff and Jenice McEndree - OH

“I will never forget our moose hunting trips, especially the one you got the monster bull. I was so pleased to be your motorman on the hunt. We...Read More »
13 of 17 | Posted by: Carvel Steinke - Maineville, OH

“Mary so sorry for you and your family's loss. As a long time ago neighbor, I think of you and your family often. God bless. ”
14 of 17 | Posted by: Patty Foreman Weaver - Plymouth, OH

“Mary: I remember when you left to follow your dream of teaching on the reservation. I also remember how very much Will missed you. He loved you so...Read More »
15 of 17 | Posted by: Jody Holstein - Newark, OH

“Mary... You and Will are in our thoughts and prayers. We will miss Will at Friendship. Another good one gone. Love, Steve & Marty Emminger ”
16 of 17 | Posted by: Steve Emminger - North Vernon, IN

“We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers and will see you Wednesday weather permitting. Love, Don and Lily Rose ”
17 of 17 | Posted by: Don and Lily Rose - Wyoming, MI


My husband, my best friend, my advisor and the love of my life, Will Barber, faded gently and peacefully from this world and into the next on December 7th, 2012 after an extended illness. As was his wish, he was surrounded by his family. But his death is just a speck on the timeline that was his life. Now his life, THAT was something!

Thirty-eight years ago I answered a newspaper ad for an evening office assistant. I was finishing up college and this job would be perfect. The secretary interviewed me and, in passing, introduced me to the general manager, Will Barber. When I left he told another employee that he was going to marry me. Apparently, for him, it was love at first sight. For me, well it took a little longer! But I was to learn that he was a very determined man with an unbreakable will and a bottomless passion for love and life. He was a pilot at that time and that was his first love. He was very accomplished and loved nothing better than soaring through the skies in small planes. The nastier the weather, the happier he was to fly in it!

I graduated from college and left for Montana to pursue a lifelong dream of teaching on an Indian reservation. But, it seems, I am not the world traveler type. I was so homesick and like a knight in shining armor, he flew out, rescued me and drove me home. We were married 3 months later.

Already the father of two daughters, Tammy and Laura, we added two more daughters (Amanda and Metia) and a son (Jarrod) over the next 8 years.

After the birth of our son, Will built a beautiful log home on a peaceful, somewhat-secluded piece of ground along the river. He would spend the next 30 years building, landscaping and creating a 'little piece of heaven' for us all. He would complain about my propensity for creating flowerbeds everywhere, but I think he secretly enjoyed them too!

He taught himself to do many things in his lifetime: metalwork, roofing, building, designing, blacksmithing, wood working..There was nothing he couldn't figure out! His business, H& B Forge Co. is known around the world. He was a perfectionist and guaranteed his work for a lifetime. He passed much of that knowledge and skill to our son, Jarrod, whose final tribute to his father was to build his casket.

His best friends were the buckskinners he grew to know and love as he attended rendezvous and living history trade shows across the US. Some of his best memories were of the moose hunts he went on for over 20 years in Northern Ontario, Canada. His biggest hunting accomplishment was a very large moose that he bagged just 2 years after his accident. This was such a special event because he wasn't even expected to live and then not to walk again. But he-again-defied the odds, recovered, and went on to harvest this amazing animal.

Will served in the U S Air force during the Vietnam War and had a very special place in his heart for veterans. He would be so proud to know you made a donation to the Wounded Warriors Project. (Remember, he didn't like flowers that much!)

A staunch conservative, he shared his opinions and vast knowledge of history and news with anyone who sat still long enough! He was a member of the NRA and NMLRA.

Over the years his love and leadership helped form the lives and personalities of all of us. Surviving a heart attack in 1988 and a traumatic, horrific motorcycle accident in 2002, we all watched as he repeatedly surmounted insurmountable odds. We supported him, cared for him, loved him and cheered him on as he endured over 40 surgeries and even a complete cardiac arrest. Again, God amazed us when he made a complete recovery after 20 minutes without a heartbeat.

In so many ways he was larger than life to all of us. Time after time he faced circumstances that would have easily stopped a normal person. But his will to live and the Lord's enormous blessings, allowed him to survive and gain back the ground he lost over and over again. Selfishly, we would never be ready to let him go, but are eternally grateful that he is no longer suffering. We trust in the Lord's promise,"They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." I am so blessed to have shared the last 36 years with this amazing man and look forward to an eternity together one day.

Funeral services will be held 10:30 AM Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at the Barkdull Funeral Home in Shelby with Reverend Tom McFadden officiating. Friends may call at the funeral home Tuesday from 2:00 to 4:00 and 6:00 to 8:00 PM. A private family burial will follow at a later time. Memorial expressions may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675.

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