Harry "Buddy" Barron
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Buddy was born in Natchez Mississippi and grew up in Shreveport Louisiana. From the age of eight, he woke up every morning at 4 am to work with his dad, Manny, at the family's ice house. They loaded blocks of ice on the Model T and made deliveries before school. In his teens, he had two paper routes and, always the economist, he outsourced the folding to his sisters and saved enough money to buy a scooter for more deliveries per hour.
Buddy loved to tell stories and talked fondly of his father, Manny, until the end. The Buddy everyone knew was shaped by Manny who told stories, stopped to visit with everyone on the ice delivery route and was the last to leave a party.
Buddy was a car guy. In the late 40's early 50's, he raced his fixed up car in what was the precursor to stock car racing. Years later, you could always find old VW parts in the garage and there were constant car projects in rotation. His Ford racing jacket was his favorite item of clothing. He was a music guy at a time when the Louisiana Hayride, in Shreveport, was in its' hey day. Buddy and a group of friends would get up early on Saturday or Sunday mornings and sing live at a local radio station located just over the Louisiana/Texas line. Nothing made him smile quicker than some good bluegrass.
In high school, he met Pet. Although she was dating a boy at University, she fell fast. She said he could talk just like Donald Duck, which really made her laugh; they just had fun together. The two of them were as different and complementary to each other as two people can be. Pet was a devout Baptist, Buddy fell asleep during sermon, Pet was a straight A student, Buddy probably only showed up because that's where his friends were. They knew it was something good though and married straight out of high school. A year later, their son John was born. Nine years later, after a move to California, Donna was born.
While still living in Louisiana, Buddy was an engineer for the railroad. It was a good job, but he could see the railroad industry wasn't growing. He started working at the phone company (which was a Barron family tradition) and found his calling. His uncles were vice presidents at Southern Bell and got him an interview at Pacific Bell in California where he was hired as a "Pole Man" and then an "Installer". Although he was a union guy and a blue collar guy, Buddy ended up as a manager for Pacific Bell. Buddy helped establish the CWA's Union during his early time at Pacific Bell. He spent many nights at union meetings fighting for the rights of the working man.
After retirement, Buddy and a few other Pac Bell retirees opened a consult ting company where they taught the basics of electronics and fiber optics to telephone employees in the western states. He also became active in both Carson politics and the Swift Racing Ford Team (where he pit crewed for the Baja 500). But more often than not, you could find him in the garage working on a project, smoking a cigarette and drinking iced tea. He was once written up in the local paper for nothing more than being the friendly guy who talks to people all day; Manny would have been proud!
After years of caring for Pet (so that she could stay at home while she had Alzheimer's) and six more years of waiting to be with her again, Buddy died peacefully at home on February 10, 2014.
Some people are put on this earth to change the world, some are here to make dramatic discoveries or cure diseases, and some people, like Buddy, are here to make things a little lighter and more joyful for everyone around them. To remind everyone that life is short, so fill it with love and laughter and enjoy yourself. As he would say, "It's better than a sharp stick in the eye."
Buddy is survived by his daughter Donna and husband Dean, his son John and wife Susan, grandchildren, Gregory-Martin, Cristina-Kaye, Christopher, Kathryn Ryan and wife Shanna, Sean and wife Katherine, and Christian and great -granddaughters Shaylagh, Madeline, Emily, and Kathryn.
A Celebration of Life will be held in Seal Beach, California on Saturday, May 24th. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by May 21st to: Donna McGuire @ 562-881-0793
A Memorial Service will be held at Mt. Gilead Baptist Church, Vivian, Louisiana on Saturday, May 31st. Please sign the guest book at www.presstelegram.com/obits.
Published in the Long Beach Press-Telegram on May 17, 2014