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July 23, 2013

The Roberts Community Mourns the Loss of Rev. Duran DeBarr '71

Uncle Buck

"We celebrate his life, and we thank God that he was a part of ours.”

The Rev. Duran “Uncle Buck” DeBarr ’71 served on the Roberts Wesleyan College staff during the 70’s and 80’s.  His title was Director of Auxiliary Services, with oversight of the bookstore, snack bar, duplicating, and mail services, but to the students he was better known as the College’s bus driver.  Driving the College’s coach gave Uncle Buck the opportunity to spend hours upon hours with students.  He was especially close to the athletes and musicians. 

Many would call him RWC’s #1 fan as he rarely missed an athletic or music event when he lived in North Chili.  At games, his cowbell was a constant reminder of his enthusiasm for each player and his competitive spirit.  In 2001, the College honored his commitment to the Athletic Program by inducting him into the Sports Hall of Fame.

Uncle Buck was a prayer warrior, and he lifted this campus in prayer daily, even throughout his years of retirement.  His love for the students of Roberts Wesleyan College knew no bounds.  Uncle Buck served on the Prayer Committees for the campaigns for the Voller Athletic Center, the Cultural Life Center, and the Faith in our Future campaign.  He trusted and believed that God would provide for the college that he loved so dearly.

Several years ago, Buck and his wife Anna committed their personal resources to establishing a scholarship for men and women basketball players. Each year, two students are the benefactors of their generosity.  The students selected exemplify the lifestyle standards of Roberts Wesleyan College, including good Christian character.  Their faithful stewardship to Roberts is remarkable.

Uncle Buck came to Roberts as a 39-year-old student from West Virginia.  Regarding the scholarship he founded, Uncle Buck said, “My desire to do this came from the love and respect that I have received from the students.  They’ve accepted me and I want to go on being a part of their lives.  I wish I had millions of dollars to help all of the departments, but I had to start some place.”

Uncle Buck’s passion and dedication to the students of Roberts Wesleyan College and the institution he loved has made an indelible impact.  Generations of students experienced life at Roberts with him at their side.  We celebrate his life, and we thank God that he was a part of ours.

Uncle Buck died peacefully on Sunday, July 21, 2013.  He is survived by his wife of almost 70 years, Anna Downs DeBarr and four daughters, Janet Leary, Judy (Ronald) Penrod, Linda (Rich) Smith, and Josephine DeBarr.  The DeBarr’s have four grandchildren.

 The service for Uncle Buck is Thursday, July 25, 2013 at 1:00 p.m. at the Brook Hills Free Methodist Church (Wellsburg, WV).