IILG Member Memorial Tribute

Remembering Fellow Member, Robb Barr

Lest We Forget

Robb Barr

March 2002

Robb's IILG Membership Card

by Billy 2-Shews

Robb's Last Class

courtesy of George Mooers

To the many friends of Robb Barr:

I am so sad to tell you that Robb passed away peacefully in his sleep Saturday night. He had not been too well lately and we both had thought he would still have more time. It was devastating news. He left behind many wonderful memories and many friends worldwide. I know he would want his friends to remember the good times you had together and all the jokes he told. Treasure the memories you have of him, as he was an Original! I know he would want you to remember him and all the good times.
- Ann Waters

I am really saddened by the loss of this great artist, wonderful human being, and friend. I will always remember his classes, his wit, and how he helped everyone. He will be missed, but we are all better because of him.
- Carol Byers

I am honored to have been able to meet Robb, and his passing diminishes the world.
- Holly Moore

Although I never had the honor of meeting the man face to face thanks to the IILG in a way I had met him, and considered him a friend and mentor through the power of the Internet I was able to chat and learn from him. I was also looking forward to driving up to Bismarck this summer to get a chance to meet him and share in a few good laughs. May we all live our life good enough to go out like Robb peacefully in our sleep.
- Duey Peters

Robb was the one who taught me how to work with leather. Without him I guess I wouldn't even know that this art exists. I remember how surprised he was to meet me at the leather trade show in Sheridan 3 years ago. And how surprised I was that he remembered me and where I'm from. We had so much fun at the dinner! Robb was a funny entertainer. There was live country music. I love country, but this artist was boring to tears. Suddenly - people almost seemed asleep - there came a loud "yeehaw" through an open window. Everybody turned the head but didn't see who it was. Well, a few knew and laughed out loud... Guess whose voice it was...He was great and I'll never forget him.
- Sandra Egli

This is such a big loss to the leather world. He was an excellent instructor, very funny, and always willing to share his knowledge. We will all miss him.
- Jan Herrbach

The death of Rob Barr will most certainly be a great loss to us all, and to the leather carving profession. I know that I will miss seeing his work.
Tammy Canfield

Robb will be sadly missed by so many. He was one of nature’s 'gentle' men. I, with all that knew him, will remember Robb with great respect and affection.
- Peter Main

We never know what tomorrow will bring. I am sadly reminded how true this is by hearing of Robb's passing. I never met him, but I had planned to…I just put it off too long. I thought there would be time. Always thinking maybe next month...About a year ago my wife ordered Robb's pattern book from Hidecrafter. She received a phone call back from them a little later saying that Robb was in the store filming some new videos and would she like him to autograph the book. Well, he signed it. He also wrote a message along with it inviting me to visit him sometime when I was in Bismarck. Bismarck is only 150 miles from where I live, so it wouldn’t have been a long drive. I just put it off. I figured there would always be time. I guess even in his passing, he has taught me something. There may not always be tomorrow. I do think he will also go down as one of the GREAT ones. He will live on in the articles, pattern books and sheets, and videos that he left us. Not only did he have tremendous talent, he did so much to pass on his knowledge to others. He will continue to teach us with all that he has left behind. Any one who has any interest in leather carving (especially figure carving) owes it to themselves to see his videos. I only have a couple, but will continue to get more. I hope more of you that got the chance to call him "friend" will share some of your experiences with us.
- Clay Banyai

When Bob Wills, the fiddlin' leader of the Texas Playboys, passed away, another very well-known and talented fiddler said, "Every fiddle player in the world has just moved up a notch!" Well, that's the way I feel about all the rest of us leather carvers. I was one of the fortunate and privileged people who could call Robb a friend. In 1989, the Capitol City Carvers hosted the International Show. When I read the announcement in the Journal, I knew I wanted to go. But I knew nothing of guilds and shows - I just knew a little bit about leather tooling and wanted to know more. Being only 200 miles from Bismarck, I contacted the guild president, a fellow named Robb Barr and arranged to drive over and attend one of their meetings. Who was the big, friendly guy who met me at the door and made me feel like I'd been a member of the group for a long time? Robb. And he never changed in all these years. For a 'world-class' leather artist, he never made you feel inferior. I've taken 3 or 4 classes from him and asked for his help and advice on many other occasions, and he always made me feel like I could do whatever it was I was trying to do. His willingness to help and to share 'his' techniques and skills has made me proud to be a leather tooler - and a better one because of his help, teaching, advice, and the goals that his work has set for me.

I could probably go on, but I'll quit now. I'm just proud to say that Robb was my friend, and he will be missed.
- Leon Sevier

I too had the privilege of meeting Robb Barr in Brisbane in 2000 at the Conference there. I was one of the lucky ones to have the opportunity to attend one of his classes, was taken as many were with his talent, his manner of patiently passing on his knowledge, and above all his sense of humor.

Before the Conference I was asked if I could bring Robb back home to Coffs Harbor as he had a friend in the area he wanted to visit. (Now we have a little Honda Accord and all week I was worried that the poor guy would end up with a permanent crick in the neck from being squeezed into such a small vehicle for the 6 hour trip). After a great week at the Conference sadly we had to pack all our stuff and make the trip home.

Much to my relief Robb had about half an inch to spare for head room, now width wise we just made it as I'm more than a bit on the wide side. (As we were leaving there were even photos taken of us 3 squeezed into the poor old Honda) To Robb this was an adventure and took it all in his stride, and off we went down the highway. We stopped along the way to visit with my dad and my stepmother Gwen. We spent more time than expected chatting away, with Robb telling joke after joke, and catching up on news. Dad asked us if we'd like to stay the night, we all agreed that was a great idea as we were all having such a good time and were pretty tired. The next morning after more laughing and chatting we were back on the road and finally made it back to Coffs.

During the time he was with us and Dave Mangino, we all had so much fun showing him the sights of this area, that when he returned to Australia for the last Conference he came back to Coffs and we were able to do it all again. What impressed me the most is that nothing bothered him (the squeezy car, the too short bed, the darling Granddaughter that at first meeting Robb wouldn't leave my side when she saw this giant of a man walk through the door and wouldn't stop crying, of course the next day she was walking hand in hand with him) and above all his love of life, and the people he met along the way, as well as his love of nature and his wish to see and touch it all.

During this week there have been many a tear shed for the loss of a friend, I also thank God that I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know this special man.
- Georgie Miller, Coffs Harbor Australia

I met Robb Barr many years ago during a workshop. Robb was like the silent giant that didn't say much, but after he showed you something, you never forgot it. It was an honor to have met Robb Barr, and I feel privileged to own one of the last of his BIG books of the Designs by Robb Barr, that were carried by The Leather Factory. I was so hoping to have gotten it autographed this year at the IFOLG show. I just know that Robb looks down on us all with a big smile that only he could smile, whenever we pick up the old swivel knife. He will be so sadly missed by everyone in the leather arts industry, and I will never forget this very great man.
Tammy "White Feather" Canfield

I had occasion to talk with Robb at several of the IFoLG shows, and I always admired his work. In Texas, in 1997, I was lucky enough to sit next to him during the awards banquet. I remember laughing and having a great time enjoying his dry sense of humor and quick wit. We didn't talk about leather much, and it was an evening I will never forget. Through his work, he will always be remembered, and because of his grace and charm, he gave many of us sweet memories. Now that you're walking on the other side, friend, I hope you have all your dogs back.
- Johanna Alger

In Robb's memory, I would like to share this short story about Robb. Several years ago, I attended a show at which Robb was demonstrating his technique on finishing. As part of this, he would apply Hi Liter and rub it off with toilet paper. A couple of times during this demo, he had someone run to the bathroom and pick up some toilet paper. As always, he finished his demo successfully and everyone picked up good information. Before the next show, I made Robb a toilet paper holder with tear off capabilities and capable of being carried on his belt. At the banquet, I presented this to him. Everyone, with Robb at the forefront, had a good laugh over this. I never forgot about this because of his friendship and good humor. And he periodically reminded me about this. God Bless you Robb, your friendship, good humor, and desire to help others will be missed.
- Carl Breidenich

I learned with sorrow that Robb passed away and I know I will miss a friend. Although I have never met him I enjoyed several of his Video and I learned a lot from him. He helped me build up my confidence in giving wild life pictures a real life. I also hope one of these days I will have the opportunity to visit USA and attend one or more of the Shows and meet fellow crafters. I am one of the few from far away Africa in Tanzania in Moshi town at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

May his soul remain in eternal peace.


Robb, May You have Friends, Students, and a Leather Store near You. Oh! and say Hello to Al for Us..

I want to thank you for "Remembering" Robb Barr. He was a dear and cherished cousin of mine. I babysat he and his two sisters one summer when he was about 9 years old. Even then he was gifted artistically.

I miss him terribly and am so grateful that he made a mark on this world. He was a true Barr in wit and artistic ability. He was a precious, precious soul and we all miss him! He would be proud and honored in your remembrances. Thank you for being so kind with loving memories.

Most respectfully,

Eileen Barr Luebke
(received November 6, 2006)

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