Robert “Bob” Norman Barber passed away surrounded by his wife Cathy and children, Pike and Jennifer on January 22, 2022 after a brief battle with liver cancer. Also known as Jock, Diamond Bob, Big Bob, Papa Bob, Bubba, or the Reverend Bubba. Bob was a character, the center of attention and known for his signature, unlit cigar.
He was born in Erie, PA in 1950 and moved to Dunedin, FL in 1964. He graduated from Dunedin High School and furthered his education at Western Carolina University. While at WCU, Bob joined the Pi Kappa Alpha (Zeta Xi) fraternity where he met his “Dream Girl”, who later became the “Lucky Girl”, Catherine Hunter of Brevard, NC. Bob and Cathy were married in 1971 and recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary. After college Bob and Cathy moved to Dunedin where Bob worked with his father, also Bob Barber, at the Barber Insurance Agency until he retired in 2013.
In 1972 their son, Robert “Pike” Barber was born, named in honor of Bob’s love of his fraternity and brothers. Pike followed in his dad’s footsteps, also attending WCU and carried on his legacy by becoming a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, serving as President his senior year. In 1974, Jennifer (Vogel) was born. Bob loved having a daughter. He became an honorary Florida Gator when Jennifer attended The University of Florida in the early 90’s. As a family they followed the Gator football team near and far, attending many Bowl games and even the National Championship games. Both Pike and Jennifer followed Bob into the insurance profession.
Bob worked hard and played hard with his “Lucky Girl” Cathy. They lived for high adventures! They loved to golf, boat, fish, scuba dive, attend Bucs, Rays, and Lightning games, plays, concerts, and movies. Bob and Cathy were fortunate to travel the world with friends and family, visiting 48 states and over 50 countries during their marriage. In fact, they had a trip to Costa Rica planned just this week. Bob loved Cathy with all his heart and we all know she was the best thing to ever happen to him.
Bob was very involved in his children’s lives. Coaching their soccer, baseball, football, and softball teams. Bob never missed any of their events, his children were the light of his life. Bob’s grandchildren were very special to him and to them he was known as Papa Bob or Papa. Bob and Cathy visited the Northeast countless times to watch Tyler and Trevor play football, lacrosse, and hockey. He took them camping, fishing, and boating. Here at home in Florida he had Crosby and Nola. He saw them weekly, loved watching Disney and Hallmark movies, and attending their equestrian events.
Bob joined the Jaycees in his 20’s, where he served as the President of the Dunedin Jaycees, President of the Florida Jaycees, and eventually became a National Vice President. Bob was a Dunedin City Commissioner and Vice Mayor for six years. He served on the Board at Dunedin Country Club and was a member of the Bellaire Country Club. He was also known as “Reverend Bubba” from the Church of What’s Happening Now; he married seven couples. Bob was an avid poker player and was honored to represent his friends at the Bay Area Poker Club this past November at the World Series of Poker. Finally, Bob was the President of the Pi Kappa Alpha Zeta Xi Alumni Chapter and House Committee, his tenure ending just last week. In the bonds, PPKA.
Pre-deceased by his parents, Bob and Dorie Barber, his sister Susan, father-in-law Bob Hunter, and brother-in-laws, Zime, Bill, and Michael. He leaves behind his wife, Catherine (Hunter), mother-in-law Jeanne, son Pike (Staci), daughter Jennifer (Mike Vogel). His grandchildren Tyler Vogel (21), Trevor Vogel (19), Crosby Barber (12), and Nola Barber (9), many cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, friends, and his lapdog Buoy.
Private ceremonies will be held and his ashes will be spread at sea and at the Pike house at WCU as Bob wanted. In lieu of flowers, the family would like Bob’s legacy to live on through a scholarship at Western Carolina University, awarded each year to a Pike that shows character and leadership, demonstrating the spirit of the legend Bob “Jock” Barber and perpetuating the love of the Pi Kappa Alpha brotherhood. To contribute, please visit http://give.wcu.edu/barber
The family wishes to thank all of their friends and family for their love and support.
In lieu of flowers, consider donating to Bob’s scholarship at Western Carolina University. Visit link directly.
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