Robert Earle ‘Bob’ Barbrey

Robert Earle “Bob” Barbrey, age 89, of Simpsonville, husband of the late Faye Pace Barbrey, passed away on Tuesday, October 30 at McCall Hospice House.

Mr. Barbrey was born in Simpsonville to the late Walter Lee Barbrey and Annie Thackston Barbrey. Mr. Barbrey was a veteran of the US Army and a member of Clear Springs Baptist Church. Following a career in the Railroad, Mr. Barbrey owned and operated Barbrey’s Service Station in partnership with his brothers. Mr. Barbrey loved the people and community of Simpsonville tremendously; but his greatest affection was for his family.

Mr. Barbrey is survived by a daughter, Cathy Faye Gilreath and husband Jeff; a son, Daniel Lee “Danny” Barbrey and wife Darla; two sisters, Lucy Mahon and Adeline Savage; four grandchildren, Paige Gilreath Eakins and husband Steven, Bethany Gilreath Turner and husband James, Andrew Mark Gilreath, and Margaret Ann “Maggie” Pyland and husband Benjamin; four great grandchildren, Tyler, Stephanie, and Braylee Eakins, and Tye Pyland. He was predeceased by his wife, Faye Barbrey, his brothers, David and Jerry Barbrey, and a sister, Mary Armstrong.

The family will receive friends at Cannon Funeral Home in Fountain Inn on Saturday, November 3, 2018 starting at 10:00 AM. The Funeral Service will follow in the Funeral Home Chapel at 11:30 AM. Burial will be private in Cannon Memorial Park.

Memorials may be made to Clear Springs Baptist Church, 301 Bethany Road, Simpsonville, SC 29681.

Eulogy by granddaughter Bethany Turner
Celebration of Papa and the Town he called Home.

Today, I have the privilege of speaking on behalf of my sister, Paige, my brother, Andy, and my cousin, Maggie, as we celebrate our Papa. As with most meaningful relationships, it’s hard to put into words the depth of joy, the sense of security, and the overwhelming love we feel when we think of our grandfather. He was, to us, bigger than life. He was strong, brave, funny, and gave the best hugs.

When we were younger and would visit his house, we’d all quickly pull up our shirtsleeves to compare our muscles with Papas. We never did beat him – he was the strongest man we knew.

Papa also had a crazy way of pushing us to try hard things, while also giving us complete assurance that he would keep us safe. I think that’s a special gift for a Dad or a Papa. Whether that was learning to ride horses on the back roads of Simpsonville or offering a confident greeting– he wanted us to act and to speak with courage.

And, y’all, wasn’t our Papa funny? He was so quick on his feet, and though we were often the butt of his joke, goodness, he made us laugh. We have memories of sitting in the Station on Main Street, hearing Papa joke around with his brothers and customers. He was a hard worker, but he always had time for a story and some good ol’ fashion fun.

We also have fond memories of laying in our grandparents’ bed at night, listening to Papa tell timeless childhood stories. But, Papa never got them right and we thought it was our job to correct him. They would go something like this: “Once upon a time, there were three little pigs and they each built a house. Then, Little Red Riding Hood came to visit the pigs…” We’d yell, “NO, PAPA! NO, PAPA! The pigs didn’t meet Little Red Riding Hood! She was the one that visited her grandmother!” Papa would adjust his story but would inevitably continue to mix up the fairy tales. Our grandmother would join us in trying to help our poor Papa remember the stories correctly, but he was always going for the laughs and a bit of a show.

Over the last two weeks, we’ve had lots of opportunity to reflect on Papas life, and we can’t get over how much Simpsonville was a part of Papa and, in return, how Papa was a part of Simpsonville.

Going around town with Papa was as close as I think us grandkids will ever get to celebrity status. You never went far without folks coming up to talk; growing up, we were certain Papa knew everyone in Simpsonville! And, upon reflection, that probably wasn’t far from the truth.

He loved his family, friends, and this community so much. In many ways, as we celebrate Papa’s life, we feel like we’re celebrating the best of Simpsonville and the family and friends that have surrounded him for years. Many of you here probably grew up sharing farm tools or peppers from your garden. Others may have memories of eating Sunday lunch with my grandparents or sharing stories of work, church, and family over breakfast at Hardee’s. I know that in recent years, as my grandmother became sick, you came along side our family and not only cared for my grandmother, but kept in close contact with my Papa and, when the time came, encouraged him as he deeply mourned the passing of his beloved wife.

Scripture talks a lot about the power of community and God’s good design for people to need people. And y’all – y’all have been my Papa’s people. There really is no way for us to share fully our admiration, and absolute appreciation of you. Please know, Papa cared for you, he cheered for you, he worked for you, he celebrated you… What a story of God’s provision of community, hospitality, and love! The people of Simpsonville, family, and friends – y’all are our Papa’s people. You’re the legacy that lives on.

So as we go from here, I pray that we remember our neighbors. That we laugh those good belly laughs. That we find joy in working in whatever town we may call home. Let’s do our best to slow down, share a meal, and listen to one another’s stories.

Today we celebrate that Papa is living in a new town, perfected through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead. We find comfort in knowing that he’s in God’s presence, living with joy-filled work and worship to His Creator…and he’s doing this right beside his sweetheart, Faye. We look forward to reuniting together again – in Papa’s new town.
Mom and Danny: Papa loved you something crazy and I know he was full of pride when he reflected on the people you have become.

Paige, Andy, and Maggie: we may never know which one was truly Papa’s favorite…but I think it’s safe to say, it was me all along. Jusssttt kidding. Man, our Papa was a good papa and I hope we never forget the sound of his voice as he would say “I love you, babe.”

And to Papa’s greatest grandkids, Tyler, Stephanie, Braylee, and Tye – you brought Papa more joy than you could ever know.
From my family to yours, thank you for joining us today as we remember our Papa, your dad, your brother, your uncle, your friend – Bob.

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