John Barbe, 93, a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, died peacefully on December 20, 2020 in Athens, GA. He had been a long-time resident of Atlanta.
Mr. Barbe, raised in Scarsdale, NY, was a graduate of the Loomis School in Windsor, CT, served in the infantry and a U.S. Army band during WWII, graduated from the Julliard School of Music in 1950. In the 1950's he played saxophone and clarinet, and wrote arrangements for big bands, most notably the Buddy Morrow Orchestra. In 1960, Mr Barbe married Millicent Jane Schneider of Atlanta. In 1962, the Barbes moved to Atlanta and became part of a small, but growing music business. Mr. Barbe spent his professional life in Atlanta as a composer and arranger, and occasionally a performer, working at various times with entities as varied as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Joe South. He composed hundreds of commercial jingles, including Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, the Atlanta Braves, and James Brown's Gold Platter Restaurant. He was a founding and lifetime member of the Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy, serving that organization as a Grammy Awards judge for 20 years. In 2015, Mr. Barbe and his wife were enshrined in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Mr. Barbe embraced learning about new ideas, enjoyed being a member of Mensa, and was very interested in tracing his genealogy, which led to the discovery of over 90 generations of ancestors, including 8 emperors of the Holy Roman Empire, Charlemagne, William of Orange, and Harold "Blue Tooth" Gormsson, the 10th century Scandanavian ruler. Distant relatives include Thomas Jefferson and Britney Spears. Mr. Barbe is remembered by his family and friends for his delightful sense of humor, great intellect and deep appreciation of music. He had a long and wonderful marriage to Jane until her passing in 2003. He was a kind, generous father and grandfather. He seemed to make a friend of almost everyone he encountered all walks of life. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Mr Barbe is survived by his son David Barbe (Amy) of Athens, and daughter Shoshana Stubin (Avroham) of Passaic, NJ; along with his grandchildren Annabelle Barbe, 31, Winston Barbe, 29, Henry Barbe 27, Gedaliah Stubin, 30, Naftali Stubin, 27, Nosson Stubin, 25.
There will be an online memorial service for family and close friends on January 6 with the hope of an in-person celebration of his life in the spring.
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Dec. 24, 2020.