Standing-room-only crowd attends Bob Barry Sr. funeral

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: November 3, 2011
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This year's OU men's basketball team was supposed to practice Thursday, but instead practiced Wednesday so players who met Barry before he retired last March could attend the service.

Dozens in television, radio and print media paid their respects, not only former co-workers at KFOR-TV, but also personnel from rival stations.

Amazingly, Barry announced Sooners football while Switzer was an assistant, but never coach. WKY lost the broadcast rights to OU football when Switzer took charge of the program in 1973.

“Bob and I didn't have a professional experience, but we had a social experience here in Norman,” Switzer said after the service. “I got to know Bob extremely well. In fact, I was with him just a couple weeks ago. Truly, he was a legend in sports announcing and admired by everyone and he's a good person. More importantly, that's what I think of Bob. He was a good man, a good guy.”

Smith played baseball with Barry at Classen High School and later became the man who hired Barry at WKY-TV (now KFOR-TV).

Though known for his half century of calling football and basketball games, Barry's favorite sport might have been baseball.

Smith said Barry had memorable golf outings with hall of fame athletes Johnny Unitas, Bob Feller, Brooks Robinson, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle, plus celebrities such as Barbara Eden and Dinah Shore.

Smith also shared two of Barry's cornier jokes from 30 years ago, which appropriately drew half-laughter and half-groans.

“There's not a good adjective that you could name that wouldn't probably apply to Bob Barry,” Smith said.

Barry was inducted into three different halls of fame and was 15-time sportscaster of the year in Oklahoma.

He is survived by his brother, Jack; son Frank; son Bob and his wife, Gina; and eight grandchildren. Joan Barry, his wife of 51 years, died in 2003.

John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. Follow him on Twitter @RohdeOK.

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