One of the last times that I saw Bob Barry Sr., he was behind a microphone.
No surprise there.
The man spent five-plus decades calling games on the radio, bringing football and basketball games to life for Sooner and Cowboy fans alike.
But on this day, he was doing an introduction at a banquet. While I don't remember the intro or even who was being introduced, I clearly remember marveling the ease with which Barry engaged the crowd. He told jokes. He chuckled. He even poked fun at himself.
That grace was Barry's calling card.
At a time when all of Oklahoma mourns Barry — he died Saturday at the age of 80 — many will remember his signature calls and his broadcasting legacy. But nothing was more synonymous with Barry than his grace.
Want to know how to handle criticism, even the most public of opinions? Want to know how to stomach knocks, both fair and unfair?
Bob Barry showed us.
He was one of the most beloved and most criticized figures on our state's sports landscape for the last decade or so of his career. Many couldn't imagine a broadcast without him while others couldn't wait for one.
This very newspaper called for his retirement ... in 1998.
He retired in 2011.
Most of us age privately. We know our shortcomings, what isn't as perfect as it used to be. We see our flaws. Then, we use everything from bifocals to Botox to cover up as much of it as possible.
The legendary actress Bette Davis once said that getting old is not for sissies.
Barry was no sissy.
He kept right on living and working and doing what he loved even as some said he should give it up. The plays were farther away. The numbers on the jerseys were smaller. The mistakes were more frequent. But Barry never let the doubters take his energy, his passion or his enthusiasm.
More than that, he never once did anything unbecoming or said anything ugly about his naysayers.
He was a man of high class and dignity, characteristics too often lacking today.
Grace, the dictionary says, is elegance of form, manner, motion or action.
Bob Barry Sr. was grace defined.