Antoine D. Barber Jr. (known as Junior Barber) 73, previously of Palm Bay, Fla., and Plattsburgh, N.Y., died March 8, 2017, at his home in Coon Rapids, Minn., surrounded by his loving wife and family. Born in Chazy Lake, N.Y., on April 12, 1943, the oldest child, he was predeceased by his parents, Dora H. (King) and Antoine D. Barber Sr.; and stepdaughter Melanie Bushey. After attending Ellenburg Central School, he joined the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam during the war. He was involved in active combat and lost good friends. His first love and his life-long love was music. When he was young, he and his father would play guitars together, and at most family gatherings you could count on music being played. He played several genres of music but bluegrass was his favorite. He loved to listen to the old bluegrass songs and when he played them, he always preferred to stay true to their original structure. He loved to work with guitars turning them into resophonic guitars (dobros); he gave away a lot of dobros in his lifetime to anyone who showed interest in this instrument. He held workshops at many of the festivals throughout the country sharing his knowledge and love of music. He was an employee of SUNY Plattsburgh but his ambition was music driven. He played with a lot of different bands over the years (too many bands and people to list) and enjoyed every minute of it.
In his later years, he met the Gibson Brothers and worked with them for seven years and influenced their music. This was very enjoyable to him as his son Mike was and still is a bass player in the band. He was nominated by the IBMA as Dobro Player of the Year many times. In
2004, he formed a band with his cousins Tom Venne and Julie Hogan, called Beartracks Band and performed with them until he and his wife moved to Florida. After suffering a stroke in 2016, he was no longer able to play his music. He touched so many people's lives with his music and personality. He was known as a class act and true gentleman. He was known and loved by so many people across the country and will be missed by all.
He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Hazel Barber; his son, Michael Barber, his stepchildren, Morris Bushey, who was his primary caregiver, Janice Bushey (his secondary caregiver), Steve Bushey, Curtis Bushey, and Vicki Bushey; his siblings, Raymond Barber, Carol O'Connell, Judy Palmer, Randy Barber and Daniel Barber. He is also survived by many loving grandchildren, nieces, nephews and extended family. He will be remembered for generations to come as people listen to his music.
A funeral Mass will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 12, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Dannemora, N.Y., followed by burial in the military cemetery also in Dannemora. Reception to follow at the American Legion in Redford, N.Y.
Published on May 6, 2017