The Local Voice

Obituary: Former Ole Miss Wide Receiver Bill Barry


After bravely fighting lymphoma cancer for 16 months, former Ole Miss wingback Bill Barry, who was to become president of the M-Club Alumni Chapter this fall, passed away peacefully at home in Brandon, Mississippi, on Thursday, December 31, 2015, with his wife Amy by his side. He was listening to the Ole Miss Band version of “From Dixie with Love” and the “Elvis Trilogy.”

Born in Quitman, Mississippi, on June 11, 1950, to John W. and Tommye Lue (Dabbs) Barry, Bill grew up in Quitman and was an Eagle Scout. He attended Zack Huggins High School, where he excelled in athletics and was a member of Quitman’s 1967 football Choctaw Conference championship team.

Following high school, Barry played wide receiver for Jones County Junior College and was a member of the Mississippi JC championship team in 1968 when he earned All-State honors. He signed with Ole Miss and played for head coaches John Vaught (1970) and Billy Kinard (1971-72) and was a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. Before graduating from Ole Miss in 1973, Bill was selected by the Chicago Bears in the National Football League Draft. However, he chose instead to begin his career in banking and finance.

After graduation, Barry worked for Citizens National Bank in Meridian and Stonewall, Mississippi. In 1987, he joined the Mississippi Business Finance Corporation and was named Executive Director in 1988. He worked actively to help new and existing business and industry establish financing, which created jobs and economic growth for the State of Mississippi. In both his banking and economic development positions, Barry forged many long-term relationships that he enjoyed throughout his life.

Barry remained passionate about Ole Miss athletics. He was an avid supporter through the M-Club and other alumni organizations and served as president-elect in 2015 and was to become President in the fall of 2016. He and Amy rarely missed a home game and always enjoyed tailgating in The Grove with their close friends and family. He stayed in contact with many of his former Rebel teammates and he deeply cherished their friendship.

Barry was preceded in death by his father, John W. Barry; his paternal grandparents, John David and Sallie Adams Barry; and his maternal grandparents, Thomas M. and Bessie Box Dabbs. He is survived by his loving wife, Amy Ballard Barry, his son Brent Dabbs Barry (Dana) of Sumrall, Mississippi, his daughter Dr. Lauren Elizabeth Barry (Todd) of Jackson, Mississippi, and his son Joe C. Majors, Jr. of Oxford, Mississippi.

He also leaves behind his mother, Tommye Lue Dabbs Barry of Quitman; his brother John Richard “Rick” Barry (Cheri) of Meridian and brother Robert Louis “Lou” Barry (Kelly) of Cypress, Texas. He is also survived by his three precious grandchildren, Faith, Camryn, and Blake, along with many other nieces and nephews. And his beloved dog, Gabe.

The family would like to thank Dr. Carter Milner and staff at UMC Cancer Institute and Southern Care Hospice staff. A visitation was held on January 3, 2016 in Ridgeland, at Parkway Funeral Home, 1161 Highland Colony Parkway. A visitation was also be held from 12:30-2:00 pm on January 4, 2016 in Quitman, Mississippi at United Methodist Church, 203 E. Franklin Street, with a Celebration of Life Service following.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Bill Barry M-Club Scholarship, C/O The University of Mississippi Foundation, 406 University Ave, Oxford, MS 38655. 

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