Remembering “Wick” Barrow

Saturday was a sad day for East Forsyth High School and the local community, as Kernersville’s Richard “Wick” Barrow, the voice of East Forsyth, passed away at the age of 88.
Barrow was an announcer for East Forsyth sports for over 40 years and also was an announcer for Kernersville American Legion Post 36 baseball for many years. He was a devoted and welcome fixture for East Forsyth as an announcer for football and also served as the announcer for East Forsyth baseball and basketball games. In 2013, Barrow was appropriately honored when he was inducted into the East Forsyth Hall of Fame for Outstanding Service to the school.
The loss of Barrow will be an adjustment for numerous East Forsyth fans, coaches and staff members who have enjoyed having him announce games for some time.
Eagle football coach Todd Willert, who will be entering his 20th year as varsity head coach, will be one of many who will miss Barrow next season.
“I’ve coached here for 19 years and, for me, hearing Barrow is all I have known as a head coach. It will be kind of eerie to hear a different voice,” said Willert. “You don’t hear much in football as a head coach because you are so locked in, but I always heard him. He was always there for football. He was always there for baseball, and he was always there for basketball. He was the voice of the Eagles.”
Barrow was born and raised in Kernersville. His announcing career started at the annual Oak Ridge Easter Horse Show. He was given an opportunity to announce one game at East Forsyth with Elwood Sears, and Barrow continued to announce games afterward. Barrow also worked for and retired as a supervisor at Western Electric, which is now AT&T Network Systems.
“One thing I can say about Wick is he loved East Forsyth athletics. Particularly, he loved football, basketball and baseball. I can’t say which he loved better,” said former East Forsyth Athletic Director (1999-2014) Tim White. “He was announcing before we had a press box here. He started being a spotter for Elwood Sears in the early 70s and they had a big time. They were good friends. Then he started full-time in the late 70s-early 80s.”
Needless to say, Barrow was devoted to East Forsyth. While he was as professionally and as impartial as possible, withholding his opinion was sometimes difficult, according to White and East Forsyth Athletic Director Allen Plaster.
Plaster, who has been the athletics director at East for nine years, an assistant baseball coach for five years and was the head varsity baseball coach for eight years, came to rely on Barrow and enjoyed having him announce the games.
“Wick was definitely an Eagle through and through. I remember some of the comments he made when he announced a foul, or a penalty in football if he did not agree with it,” said Plaster. “He would say, ‘They say it is a holding penalty.’ He would get his two cents in. One of the things that a lot of people don’t understand is how many people it takes to hold a game, whether it is football, baseball or basketball. When you have a person like Wick, who announced for 40 plus years, it is one less thing you have to worry about. It is like a security blanket for an athletic director. If he was going to miss a game, 99.9% of the time he would call me and he would already have somebody else ready to do it. I hate to lose him. He has been a staple at East Forsyth for a long, long time.”
“Wick would let one slip every now and again. He would tell it like it was. It might be against the official. It might be against the other coach. It might be against our coach. He would speak up on close calls and things of that nature,” White added. “Because of his love for East Forsyth it was hard for him to be unbiased.”
Barrow was a polished announcer and was professional and devoted to East Forsyth. For over 40 years, it is doubtful East Forsyth fans and coaches would have wanted him to be any other way.
A graveside service celebrating Barrow’s life will be held at 2:00 PM on Saturday, March 19 at Bunker Hill United Methodist Church Cemetery with Pastor David Rorie officiating. The family will receive friends from 6:00 – 8:00 PM on Friday, March 18 at Hayworth-Miller Kernersville Chapel as well as following the graveside service in the church fellowship hall. Online condolences may be made at www.hayworth-miller.com.

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