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Bobby Lee Barber loved people, his family and Seattle’s sports teams.
Known to friends as Bugs or Bugsy, he became a Seahawks season-ticket holder during the team’s inaugural season, was a longtime Husky football season-ticket holder who went to a few Rose Bowls, and loved going to Mariners games.
But one Mariners game stood out, the one in which he saw grandson Jason Zumek, a retired Army captain, honored for his military service during the game.
Barber, married for 64 years to Grace, died April 4 of complications from the coronavirus. He was 84.
“He was a friend to everyone and never met a stranger,” Zumek said of his grandfather, who lived in Buckley and worked for 36 years for Kenmore Trucking. “Wherever he went, he always found somebody to talk to. He went to all of the games of his (eight) grandkids, and (11) great-grandkids that he could.”
Zumek said he still has a souvenir pennant from the first home game played by the Mariners that his grandfather gave him, along with a pennant from a Super Bowl in the 1970s his grandparents attended.
Barber graduated from White River High School in Buckley in 1954, then joined the U.S. Navy in 1955, serving until 1958. After retiring from Kenmore, he enjoyed working seasonal jobs at the Washington State Fair, Crystal Mountain and the Scottish Highland Games. But what he relished the most, those close to him say, was time with his family.
Barber is survived by his wife and three children, who all live in the Enumclaw-Buckley area. In addition to the eight grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren, he also had two great-great grandkids, with two more on the way.