All who knew him would agree that John Barry was a kind and gentle man to all; soft spoken, yet with a quiet strength forged and refined by growing up on a farm in middle Tennessee during the depression.
He gained from that a love of the outdoors as he hunted, fished and trapped to help sustain the family with his three siblings, along with the resourcefulness, ingenuity, and stamina which traits evidenced themselves as he was thrust into WWII where he distinguished himself as the pilot of a B24 Liberator heavy bomber and captain of a ‘lead crew’. He was entrusted with early radar, leading bombing missions over Germany and western Europe, for which he was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross, and was loved and respected by his crew members throughout their lives, a few of which remained lifelong friends.
After the war, he enrolled in Georgia Tech, but only completed one year before marrying the love of his life, Esther Mansell, and dropping out to raise a family. He later completed his education in Civil Engineering by correspondence. He found work at TVA where he rose through the ranks from surveying crew to draftsman to registered Civil Engineer in transmission line design.
Concurrently, early in the marriage, he was saved at a Billy Graham crusade which became a passion for the rest of his life. He served for many years as a Deacon and occasionally as Chairman of the Deacons, teacher, usher, etc. at East Ridge Baptist Church. This fit his character and rounded out his life as he devoted himself with Esther at his side to raising three boys, David, Benny, and Doug, his church and his work.
Upon the early advent of computers, he perceptively saw the usefulness in solving the catenary curve of a hanging line which they wrestled with in their transmission line designs, and pioneered early programming for that. His work was published in engineering journals and received worldwide attention. After his retirement from TVA, this earned him recruitment from Gilbert Commonwealth Engineers, and then Mesa Associates for whom he became one of two employees who founded the Chattanooga branch, now a large major engineering firm.
Throughout his life, he was a loving, meek and humble man who led not by management, but by example.
He is survived by his three sons, David, Benny and Doug Barry, grandsons, Greg and Ben, granddaughter, Laina Monaco, brother, Kenneth Barry of Union Grove, Al., sister, Julia Elizabeth Barry, and several nephews and nieces.
We were so blessed to have him for his 97 years.
Funeral services will be held at the Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist, East Chapel on Thursday, April 26, at 2 p.m.
Visitation will be held on Wednesday, April 25, from 5–8 p.m. and on Thursday, April 26, from 12–2 p.m. at the hour of service.
Interment will take place at Greenwood cemetery following the service with full military honors.
Please share your thoughts and memories with the family at Chattanoogaeastchapel.com.
Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist, East Chapel is honored to be serving the family of Mr. John Edward Barry.