James Reginald Barry, Jr.

Published 8:45 am Tuesday, May 5, 2020

James Reginald Barry, Jr., 93, of Cordele passed away Saturday, May 2, 2020 at Crisp Regional Hospital. A Cordele native, he was raised in the Raines community, the oldest child of his parents, James Reginald Barry, Sr. and Emmie Lou Roberts Barry.

He attended O’Neal Elementary School through 7th grade and West Crisp High School. In High School sports, he was a guard on the basketball team and catcher for the baseball team. He graduated from Gordon Military College High School in June 1943.

Reginald volunteered for the Navy and was called into active duty on March 1, 1944. He did officer training at Mercer University where he played varsity basketball and varsity baseball, playing 3rd base. He then attended Georgia Tech where he played shortstop on the baseball team. He was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

In October 1945, during World War II, he boarded on Landing Craft Infantry at Treasure Island, San Francisco Bay, California for a tour of duty in the Pacific. His tour of duty included Okinawa, Manila, Subic Bay in the Philippines, Saipan, Pearl Harbor and the Marshall Islands. He was discharged from the Navy May 28, 1946.

On October 2, 1946, he married the former Irma Stephens. After service and marriage, Reginald played professional baseball with the Cleveland Indians farm team in Cordele and later played in Statesville, NC in the North Carolina State League. He then came back to Georgia and played with the Philadelphia Phillies organization in Americus. He was a third baseman and catcher.

Leaving professional baseball after 2 years, he returned to Crisp County to farm. In 1950, he and Irma bought a farm on Arabi Warwick Road in the Bridges Community. There he raised row crops of peanuts, cotton, watermelons, corn, soybeans and grain. He also planted pecan trees and raised black angus cattle. He also purchased other farm land in Crisp and Worth Counties. He was an active member of the Crisp County Farm Bureau and served as a committee member with the ASCS.

In 1965, Reginald was elected to the Crisp County Commission. He held that position for the next 30 years. He was elected chairman in 1971 and served as chairman for many years. He prided in the fact of service to the citizens of Crisp County not of it being a job. He served on the Crisp County Power Commission Board, the Crisp County Health Department Board and the Cordele-Crisp Industrial Authority. He also served this part of the state as director of the Middle Flint Area Planning Board, and as vice-chairman of the second district of Georgia County Commissioners. Reginald was a director and stock holder of Cordele Banking Company. He also owned Barry Pecan Company.

He was a member of the Nancy Williams Memorial Methodist Church where he served as chairman of the Board of Stewards, Superintendent of Sunday School and Secretary and Treasurer of the church. He was a member of the Bridges Community Club where he served as Treasurer. He was an avid fisherman who loved fishing for white perch, channel catfish, bream and appaloosa catfish on Lake Blackshear. Any off time he was at his cabin on Lake Blackshear. He loved to entertain his friends with fish fries.

 In November of 1994, Reginald’s wife, love, best friend and co-worker of 46 years passed away. “Miss Irma” was an active part of Crisp County also. Mr. Reginald was devastated and heartbroken for a period of time. But in January of 2003, he married Merrilyn Cobb Ivey and they spent 17 years together. They were active members of Warwick United Methodist Church. Reginald was heard saying many times “I’ve been blessed with two caring and loving wives.”

Reginald is preceded in death by his parents, his wife, Irma Stephens Barry, their infant baby girl, his siblings, Richard Barry, Callie Barry Peele, Peggy Barry Jones and Bill Barry.

He is survived by his children, Wanda (Cliff) Hearn and James (Robin) Barry; his grandchildren, Alicia Barry (Justin) Nelson, Heather Denham, Kelley Barry (Jared) Worthy and Hagen Hearn; step-children, Martha Ivey, Hugh Gaughf “Bubba” (Cathy) Ivey and Robert (Tina) Ivey; grandchildren, Leigh Ann Ivey, Hugh Gaughf Ivey III (fiance Alley Wilson), Chapman Ivey, Anna Catherine Ivey, Mary Martha Ivey and Mathews Ivey. Also surviving him are seven great-grandchildren, Eli Nelson, Lyndon Worthy, Lawton Nelson, Brayleigh Denham, Wilkes Worthy, Braxton Denham, and Briggs Denham.

The family would like to thank Donna Lewis for her loving service and care giving.

Due to the CoronaVirus outbreak requirements, a private family burial will be held. Honorary pallbearers will be Barry Jones, Jim Jones, Bill Peele, Richard (Dick) Barry Jr., Johnny Culpepper, Chris Stephens, Allen Musselwhite, and Ben Morris.