Melburn Wayne Barber was born July 1, 1933 to Frank William and June Winona Barber in the home of his grandparents, Thomas William and Clara Ann Barber, at the edge of a wheat field on Pie Flat overlooking Wagon Creek and the Antelope Hills. He went peacefully to be with the Lord April 27th, 2019, in the memory care unit of Elkwood Assisted Living Center, Elk City, Oklahoma.
Where they came up with Melburn no one knows for sure, but it was only used when it absolutely had to be. He began elementary school down the road at the Pie Flat School house and graduated from high school at Crawford in 1952. Even in his high school profile questionnaires, all Wayne ever wanted to do was farm and fish. Much of his courtship with Shirley Von Summers was spent on the banks of fishing ponds throughout the county. When he mustered the courage to ask Shirley’s dad R.L. “Bill” Summers for her hand in marriage, Bill’s response was “if you think you can live with her”. They were married December 24th, 1952 southwest of Cheyenne on the Thurmond Ranch in Bill and Opal Summers home. He lived with her for 66 years, 4 months, and 3 days.
In 1953, he was drafted into the army and served two years at Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma. Their son Bruce Wayne Barber was born April 30, 1954 while they were stationed there. Wayne finished the remainder of his military duty in the army reserves being honorably discharged in 1961.
Much like his father, Wayne had little desire to leave Pie Flat. He tried a stint of city life working for Wilson Meat Packing Co in Oklahoma City that lasted about 6 months. He then worked for Ted Haight at Haight Pontiac-International Harvester in Cheyenne, Oklahoma until he and Shirley were able to finally purchase their first bit of land adjoining Frank and June in 1956. Breakfast and supper views of Wagon Creek, the Antelope Hills, and the Canadian River were his hearts delight for the next 60 years.
A daughter, Cynthia Ann Barber born November 23, 1959 in Shattuck, Oklahoma completed the family.
Wayne was baptized in 1951 at the age of 18 by Albert Trent. He didn’t read music but loved to sing and he led the congregational singing at Crawford, Cheyenne, and Durham Churches of Christ. And he taught Sunday school classes for many years. Wayne developed an interest in registered Hereford cattle. The kids showed cattle at various livestock shows across the county, state, and eventually country. Barber Hereford production sales were held at the ranch annually for several years. He served as director of the Oklahoma Hereford Association multiple years. He actively participated in the Oklahoma State University’s bull test studies for multiple years. He was a charter member of the Red Star Rural Water District Board and served that board for over 40 years. He was Chairman of that board for the last few years of his service.
He and Shirley were class parents for both of their children’s classes throughout the years. He never missed a basketball, baseball game, 4-H or FFA event. Wayne was a licensed basketball referee for several years. And he continued to officiate and coach from the stands for many years afterwards!!
Though Wayne would have been perfectly content to never wander from Pie Flat, once the children were grown Shirley’s love of travel led them to several countries in Europe. She enticed him with farm tours of Norway, Germany, Holland, England, Scotland, Wales and France. They enjoyed many trips with great friends.
Wayne loved fishing, hunting, bird dogs, quail, white faced Hereford cattle and most of all family.
Funeral services were held at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at the Durham Church of Christ, Durham, Oklahoma. Interment will be at Pie Flat Cemetery, Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Services have been entrusted to Martin-Dugger Funeral Home in Elk City, Oklahoma. He is preceded in death by his parents; Frank and June Barber, his father-in-law and motherin- law; R.L. “Bill” and Opal Summers.
Survived by his wife; Shirley Barber of the home, son; Bruce Barber and wife, Lisa of Elk City, Oklahoma, daughter; Cindy Dunlop and husband, Jim of Edmond, Oklahoma, grandchildren; Brandon Barber and wife, Tina of Hays, Kansas, Megan Barber Dawson and husband, Steven of Piedmont, Oklahoma, Abby Barber Hale and husband, Brant of Washington, Oklahoma, Kylie Barber and friend, Natalie May of Ada, Oklahoma, Reid Barber of Midwest City, Oklahoma, Gunner Garrison of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Shelby Sewell of Lubbock, Texas, Darby Sewell of Norman, Oklahoma, Jimmy Dunlop of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Becky Dunlop Singleton and husband, Greg of Norman, Oklahoma, Danny Dunlop and wife, Kelsey of Tulsa, Oklahoma, great grandchildren; Ashlyn, Trevor, Brooklyn, Brady, Gavin, Grant, Emma, Lucy, Ashlyn, Jaxon, Hudson, Matt, Cole, sister; Judy Barber Icke and husband Dave of Crawford, Oklahoma. A host of additional family members and friends.
The Barber family has a long-standing presence in the community. We’ve heard lots of stories and there have been many adjectives to describe them: ornery, feisty, spirited, rowdy to name a few. But the overwhelming phrase heard spoken the past few years regarding Wayne is “sweet man”. We’re gonna miss that sweet man.
When we lay him to rest in Pie Flat Cemetery Wednesday with his parents and grandparents, there will be six generations together in a place Wayne considered to be one of the most beautiful peaceful places on God’s green earth.
Memorials can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Cheyenne Educational Foundation in care of Martin-Dugger Funeral Home, P.O. Box 707, Elk City, Oklahoma 73648. Online condolences can be sent to the family by using the online guest book at www.martin- duggerfuneralhome.com