Barry Neil Henry, 66, of Poteau passed from this life into his heavenly home on Tuesday, May 10, 2022. After a life spent fishing, teaching school, and chasing a softball player around the country, he passed away at Washington Regional Medical Center, surrounded by family who loved him dearly.
Barry was born Feb. 7, 1956, in Poteau to Neil and Jearl Dean Henry. He stayed in Poteau throughout his grade school years before attending college at Eastern and then Oklahoma State University. Upon graduation in 1978, he began a long and impactful career as a special education teacher in both Poteau and Fort Smith. Over the course of his 41-year teaching career, he had the opportunity to change so many lives for the better.
Barry married Terri Daniels on July 3, 1982. They celebrated 18 years of marriage before she passed in May of 2000. From that marriage, they had a daughter, Katy, who followed in her parents’ footsteps, pursuing a career in education. Barry spent countless hours sitting on a bucket practicing softball with Katy, which resulted in four precious years of Arkansas Razorback softball. Barry would say these were the best four years of his life.
Barry particularly enjoyed fly fishing with his brothers at Roaring River State Park in Cassville, Missouri. Innumerable weekends were spent in a tiny cabin together making memories and lying about who caught the most fish. He loved spending time there with anyone who would join him and has almost certainly discovered a honey hole in heaven somewhere already.
Barry’s most recent passions were his garden and his pets. He and his long-time companion, Karen, shared a love for their rescue dog, Minnie, as well his first shelter dog, DeeDee. When he wasn’t taking one of them for a walk or giving them too many treats, he could be found in one of his many gardens.
Probably his greatest joy in life was to help other people. He considered himself a caregiver above everything else, and his long teaching career is a testament to that. He loved and supported Poteau Schools for his whole life.
His grandkids, Ryan and Allison, as well as Karen’s granddaughter, Scarlett, were the center of his life. He loved nothing more than to watch them play ball or attend their performances. His son-in-law, Kyle, was someone who he always depended on. When anything when wrong, his first response was often to call Kyle. Holidays were always joyous occasions for Barry, when Katy’s family and Chris’s family could all be together. He also looked forward to his brother, Jerry’s, weekly visits. Barry loved family above all things.
Barry is preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Terri. He is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Katy and Kyle Walls; his grandchildren, Ryan and Allison Walls, his long-time companion; Karen Tobler; her son, Chris and his wife, Michelle; and their daughter, Scarlett; his twin brother, Larry and wife Kay Henry, of Ft. Myers, Florida; his brother, Gary, and wife, Mary, of Athens, Texas; and his brother, Jerry, and wife Barbara, of Hackett, Arkansas, as well as many beloved nieces and nephews.
Services for Barry are Saturday at 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Poteau. Visitation will be Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Evans and Miller Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to the Poteau Valley Humane Society.