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Newspaper mourns death of reporter: ‘Epitome of a professional’

Our newsroom is mourning a friend, co-worker and great journalist.

Barrie Barber, an award-winning military affairs reporter for the Dayton Daily News, died at his home in Miamisburg this week. Barrie was 52.

Under normal circumstances you would be reading stories from him today from the Dayton Air Show. He covered the event every year and worked hard to tell readers something new and exciting with each story.

Barrie covered military affairs for Daily News readers. He wrote with deep insight about the developments at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the people who worked there.

Barrie was smart, careful and clear in his writing. A Naval veteran, he knew military protocol often dictated how much his sources could tell him, and still he worked hard to get the most complete report possible, pressing three-star generals and senators for more if that is what it took. If he didn’t understand something, he took the time to learn so he could get it right.

Dayton Daily News Reporter Barrie Barber

“I had the honor to work with Barrie since my arrival at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 2013 and, in my opinion, he was the epitome of a professional journalist,” said Marie Vanover, the director of Wright-Patt Public Affairs. “He worked with many of the public affairs staff members base-wide on a variety of issues and was well respected by everyone on the staff for his balanced reporting. He helped us tell the Wright-Patt and Air Force story to thousands across the Miami Valley and beyond and will be missed.”

His work received several industry awards, including recognition by the national Military Reporters and Editors Association. Just this week work he and photographer Ty Greenlees produced about the role of Wright-Patt staff in defending the U.S. from cyber attacks was recognized by the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists as among the best in the state in 2017. He was also leading our coverage of concerns about the region’s drinking water quality and investigations into whether it is threatened by chemicals leaching from an area on base property.

“Barrie Barber was a dedicated and hardworking journalist,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton. “ I’ve worked with him for nearly a decade in his capacity covering military affairs and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. His tenacity and contribution to our community will be deeply missed.”

Dayton Daily News writer Barrie Barber flew inverted with legendary air show pilot Sean D. Tucker before the 2017 Vectren Dayton Air Show. TY GREENLEES / STAFF (Editor)

His knowledge and respectful demeanor made him perfect for his role of pressing government officials for the straight facts about important issues concerning Wright-Patt.

“Often his depth was such that I just didn’t know answers some of the time,” said U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. “He was always a good match and then some, as a reporter who really dug deep on his beat. We’ll miss him and his talents. …. I always appreciated the way he’s done his job with the times I’ve worked with him and the many times he’s called and we’ve discussed things over the years and he’ll be a hard guy to replace.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said “Barrie was a smart, hardworking, and courteous reporter whose depth of knowledge about defense issues, especially as they relate to the Dayton area, will be hard to match. I will certainly miss his dedication to his profession and the community he served.” 

Barrie was a native of Michigan and joined the Daily News in 2012 after 13 years working for The News in Saginaw, Mich. He is survived by his mother, Barbara Snell, father, Barrie Barber Sr., step-father Ray Snell, sister Michele Lambaria, and numerous friends and family.

Services will be held noon, June 28, at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Davison, Mich.

In addition to being good at his profession, Barrie was a great person. He was one of the most polite people I’ve ever met. As stories have come out this week among co-workers many of us are learning for the first time the number of kind things Barrie did when few people were watching. We’re going to miss him a lot.

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