Based upon an article from the Altoona Mirror
December 17, 2010 - By Scott Muska
Pastor John Collins joked that every preacher in town should pay Richard A. "Dick" Barr Sr. 10 percent of their salary. "He just ministered to folks all over," Collins said of the ordained minister. "I'd go to a hospital or to somebody's house to see them when they were sick, and he'd already be there." Collins of First Church of Christ referred to Barr, who passed away Monday, December 13, 2010 at the age of 69, as "a Christian in the very truest sense of the word," and said he and the entire community would miss him immensely.
A large part of the Dick Barr legacy is the Lighthouse Fellowship, an all-men's Christian Bible study and fellowship that he founded in 1997. Every Saturday morning at 7 a.m., men from the area meet at The Lighthouse, at the corner of Bloom and Woomer roads in Altoona.
There, they listen to a speaker and enjoy "male camaraderie that's a different experience from going to church, and something you don't get too often," said State Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., who has attended weekly fellowship meetings there for years. He said the fellowship would be in good hands, and that Barr's brother-in-law, Charles Dreese, has been instrumental in the running and maintenance of the fellowship.
Barr was a big, strong guy, but he was very gentle with his approach to people, Eichelberger said. "I know people say things like a person had a unique ability or something, but Dick had this really special ability to talk to people about Christianity," Eichelberger said. "In all my life I've never met anybody that was so at ease and adept at talking to people about religion." He also remembered the hugs Barr would give him almost every Saturday when he walked into The Lighthouse, and said he would miss them. "He was just an exceptional guy," Eichelberger said.
On Thursday afternoon, Collins said people were lined up at the church, and hundreds had already passed through to say their goodbyes to Barr and to provide support for his wife of 50 years, Darlene, and the rest of his family. He said it was a tribute to what a "great guy" Barr was, and how big he was in the community. Pastor Collins said he'd spent time with Barr and his family during the final three days of his life, and said it was a privilege to be around a group of people who loved each other and Barr so much.
Dick Barr was the owner and operator of Barr's Auto Electric for 27 years and a member of the now-defunct Fourth Lutheran Church. He was also involved with several other local churches and international missionary work. He was a member of Full Gospel Business Men and ministered at the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home, Blair Tower and area hospitals and nursing homes. He was also involved with the Adult Rehabilitation Center of the Salvation Army, taught people with special needs and worked at various youth camps as a counselor.
Senator Eichelberger recalled a recent visit to the hospital to see Barr, and said he was surprised by how much Barr was able to make him feel at ease, despite being in the middle of a difficult time. "He was probably in pain, but you wouldn't know because that wasn't his style," Eichelberger said. "His style was to be welcoming and to make sure you knew he was your friend and was there for you, even whenever we needed to be there for him.
The following is not a part of the Altoona Mirror Article:
Early in the evening of December 13, 2010, family members and friends gathered around Dick at his home, in the Grandview section of town, to pray. Just after Dick gasped his last breath there was a great flash of light that filled the sky over the city. Immediately, there was a power outage over much of Altoona that lasted several hours. The light of Christ, brought to our community by Dick, had gone out.