Work continues on tornado-damaged Beavercreek Twp. farm

Family may have to demolish their home after tornado hit

The Barr family of Beavercreek Twp. is working to clean up and repair tornado damage a month later while still getting necessary tasks done on their 200-acre farm.

“We are doing OK,” said Jeff Barr, whose parents’ home was badly damaged in the Memorial Day tornado, which was the second to the hit the family since April 3, 2018. “We are working on getting the house back in order.”

RELATED: Stories of Survival: Hit by 2 tornadoes in 2 years, farm owner asks, ‘What did we do wrong?’

In 2018 — exactly 44 years to the day since the Xenia tornado — a twister nearly demolished the 1850s era barn on the Barr Family Farm at 1045 Ludlow Road, owned by James and Mary Ann Barr. It also collapsed the silo, ruined a four-car garage and damaged the roof of James and Mary Ann Barr’s house.

On Memorial Day, the newly rebuilt garage, a different barn and the parents’ house were damaged, along with the homes of Jeff Barr and his brother Ken Barr, which are also on the property.

Jeff Barr said the roofs of his home and his brother’s are being repaired but he believes damage to his parents’ house was too extensive to fix because the roof was torn off and the chimney collapsed. The family is working with an insurance adjuster on that issue.

RELATED: Insured property damage estimated more than $500 million

“Demolition is probably the best and then put a small house up for my parents,” Jeff Barr said. “They’re getting used to the idea. They’ve come to the realization that the big house is probably not going to be livable.”

His parent’s house — which the family believes was built before the Civil War — is made of triple brick, he said, so there is no wood frame to attach a roof to it. Contractors told them the brick is too old to attach a roof to it, and the chimney is in danger of further collapsing inside the house.

Tarps protect openings in the other two tornado-damaged buildings, Jeff Barr said, as it is difficult to line up garage door contractors.

“They’re so slammed right now,” he said.

His brothers and other family members have cleaned up all the debris spread around the farm by the tornado.

RELATED: Hundreds of volunteers pitch in to clear away tornado debris in Dayton region

The Barrs grow corn and soybeans and raise shorthorn show cattle.

Some of the planting had been done before the tornado, Jeff Barr said, and a friend finished planting crops for the family while they took care of tornado-related issues.

“It has slowed us down on making hay,” said Jeff Barr, who also had the transmission go out on his main tractor right before the tornado hit.

SEE MORE COVERAGE: Miami Valley tornado stories

Ashley Rose, organization director for the Clinton-Fayette-Greene-Warren Farm Bureaus, said she has heard other stories about farmers getting help from friends and neighbors during the tornado recovery.

“That’s the great thing about the ag community,” Rose said. “When disaster strikes we really do come together and help each other out.”

Jeff Barr also teaches sixth grade science at Fairborn Baker Middle School and is on summer break now. That’s helped him manage all of the usual farming tasks along with the tornado-related issues.

“We are just plugging along,” he said. “Another day.”

He and his son, Brandon, 16, took a break to go to the American Shorthorn Association’s Junior National competition in Lebanon, Tennessee, earlier this month. Brandon took his steer, Waylon, who survived when the 2018 and 2019 tornadoes hit the barns housing him, and a heifer, Dolly.

RELATED: Tornado-proof red roan steer survives two twisters

Brandon and the lucky steer took top honors, being named Grand Champion Red Roan. Dolly took second in class.

“That was a pretty big deal,” Jeff Barr said. “He was pleased.”

Stories of Recovery

It has been one month since 15 tornadoes hit the Miami Valley. This week we are sharing some of the amazing stories of people in the communities impacted by the storms and how they are recovering. Read past stories in this project, learn how to help, watch videos and more at

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