The Dean's List on Bob Barry Jr.
The day after the tragic death of our friend Bobby Barry Jr., I've reminisced alone, with friends and with my wife – who was very close to Bobby during college, when Junior apparently spent enough time in the Kappa house to letter. But more on the lighter side at a later date —although Bobby's wit was so much of who he was that it's hard to not talk about that element now. The majority of my conversations yesterday and today with Bobby's friends has been spent on the funny side of BBJ.
One grade school friend of Bobby's, who has remained close to him throughout the years, told me Bobby's incessant style of finding wit in most everything and boundless energy reminded him of Robin Williams. Greg Byrum – former Norman High stud athlete, who I teamed with for years at Norman and OU, was in the same class with BBJ. He remembered a more serious story that is revealing about what made Bobby tick.
To set it up you have to realize that Bobby had dreamed and worked his whole life to basically have the chance to be a starter his senior season at Norman High School. Bobby was a great teammate and supporter of mine when we on teams together. He didn't get much varsity time his first two years in high school But after I left, Bobby was set to take my place as the starting point guard for Max Marquardt's Norman Tigers, who were once again going to be pretty salty.
For background purposes, Byrum is married to Max's daughter Cyndi. Brent and Brad are the two Marquardt boys.
So before Bobby's senior season, when he was on the cusp of reaching his dreams and seeing all his hard work pay off, the class clown quietly did something quite admirable and uncommon for a teenager. Brent Marquardt was a budding star in ninth grade who we all expected would one day become the leader and star of his dad's teams.
But a problem had arisen. Since 1975 was the year Norman switched its system making the high school for juniors and senior only, Brent was stuck over at Norman West Mid-High and would have to wait a year to join his dad's high school team.
Bobby decided that both Brent and the high school team would be better off if the coaches' son got bumped up to the high school team. So thinking team-first, Bobby decided he'd do something about it.
He originated a petition and got his high school teammates to sign on. Bobby wound up getting the petition to the Norman School Board that ultimately allowed Brent to play on the high school team as a West Mid-High sophomore. Bobby knew it would cost him his long-awaited starting position. But because it was better for the team, and better for Brent, he sacrificed for others.
Norman High went on to have a successful season. Brent Marquardt went on to a successful career. And Bobby Barry Jr. would on to lead a happy life and be surrounded by an abundance of loyal friends and family.