Richard Barber

Grand Island

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Updated: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 04:21:07 CST

Richard F. “Dick” Barber Jr., 95, of Grand Island died Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at Saint Francis Medical Center with his family at his side.

Richard F. “Dick” Barber JrA Celebration of Life is at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at All Faiths Funeral Home with military honors provided by Unites States Air Force and Grand Island Veterans’ Honor Guards. Dan Naranjo will officiate. 

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Friday at the funeral home. Cremation will take place following the visitation.

Dick was born January 3, 1918 at Fullerton, Maryland, the son of Richard F. and Mary Edna (Chaney) Barber.

Survivors include his wife, Carolyn Epley Barber and her family; daughter and son-in-law, Faye and Larry Zmek of Chapman; step-children, Diane Allen of Ocala, FL; Richard and Kerstin Allen of Denver, CO and Bruce and Kim Allen of Tolland CT; and a sister, Mary Smith of White Hall, Maryland.

Those also left to cherish his memory include three grandchildren, Ryan and Ashley Zmek of Chapman and Wade Allen and Taylor Allen of Tolland, CT; three great-grandchildren, Landon, Shyann and Alanna Zmek of Chapman; and several nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by his parents; wives, Thelma Barber in 1976 and Mona Allen Barber in 1995; granddaughter, Shayla Ann Zmek in 1977; sisters, Dorothy Barber and Flora (Jo) Heath; and brother, George William Barber.

Dick attended High School in Towson, MD and was a graduate of Hastings College. Prior to WWII, he was a member of the Army Mounted Cavalry at El Paso, TX. He then transferred to the Army Air Corps in 1941 and was a flight instructor. He served tours in the Pacific Theater at Tinian Island and Okinawa. Dick was recalled to the Air Force during the Korean action and served on 
Okinawa. He was honorably discharged from the USAF on October 29, 1954 as Lt. Colonel.

Following military service he was employed by the Bureau of Reclamation as an Ag Economist for 25 years.. Upon retirement, he was employed by the Central Platte NRD. He served part-time as an off-campus instructor for Kearney State College in the Economics Department.

Dick was a member of the Masons and reached the 32nd Degree at the Scottish Rites in Hastings. He was a Charter member of the Hall County Sheriffs’ Posse.

Dick was united in marriage to Thelma McKeown on  April 17, 1948. After Thelma’s death in 1976, he married Mona Allen on April 19, 1977. They were married until her death in January of 1995. He then married Carolyn (Prusia) Farris Epley in 1996.

A pro at crossword puzzles when his eyesight was better, Dick loved poetry, building and fixing most anything that needed it, and teaching others how to do carpentry work. If you used the manual, then that wasn’t fair! Most of all, Dick enjoyed his family and friends.

He will be remembered for his kindness, integrity, knowledge, generosity, wisdom, patience and joy. Farewell to one of the finest men that anyone knew.

Memorials are suggested to the family’s choice or The Central Nebraska Humane Society.