Thomas Calvin "Tom" Barber

Monday, October 30, 2017
Tom Barber

Thomas “Tom” Calvin Barber, 84, of Rector, Ark., passed away Sunday, October 29, 2017, after a bout with pneumonia. He was born April 14, 1933, in Union County, Miss., to James Orlander “Lannie” Barber and Maggie Josephine (Baker) Barber. In the 1940s, the family moved to Burdette, Ark., where they farmed cotton.

After finishing school at Burdette High School, Tom joined two older sisters in Oakland, Calif., and worked at International Harvester. When his father died after a car crash in 1952, Tom returned to Burdette to take care of his mother and three younger sisters still at home. In 1953 he married his high school sweetheart, Mattie Sue Young. They had four children.

In 1964, Tom moved his family to Lee County, Ark., where he farmed 1,000 acres of cotton, wheat and soybeans. After five years, he left farming and moved the family to Northeast Arkansas, eventually settling in Rector after going into the grocery business. He owned and operated T-Mart Foods in Rector for 28 years before selling out and retiring. He was well-known for quietly helping people who needed a little break, and for owning and managing rental property. He was also known for being a staunch Democrat.

Tom was predeceased by his parents and his wife; his brother and eight sisters; his daughters, Melissa Curtis and Donna Barber; and his son, Dennis Barber. He is survived by his daughter, Brenda Barber and her husband, Rick Wells of Little Rock; a grandson, Baker Wells; his son-in-law, Steve Curtis of Rector; and dozens of doting nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, at Irby Funeral Home in Rector. Visitation will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at the funeral home. Interment will be in Woodland Heights Cemetery in Rector.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Rector Helping Hands Foundation.

Those who wish may sign the online condolence book at