Former Capron mayor Pete Barham dies

Published 11:23 am Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CAPRON—Former Capron Mayor Pete Barham died unexpectedly Monday, reportedly after undergoing routine surgery.

He was 86.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

The mayor of Capron for 42 years, Barham owned J.T. Barham in Capron.

During Monday’s Southampton County Board of Supervisors meeting, a moment of silence was held for Barham, a founding member of the county Planning Commission.

“He was an asset to the Planning Commission and to the community,” said Dallas Jones, chairman for the Board of Supervisors.

Jones called Barham “a fair man,” referring to the way he handled the development of the now closed Southampton Motor Speedway west of Capron.

“Quite a few people didn’t want it, but we needed businesses in the county and entertainment in the county,” said Jones, who served on the Planning Commission with Barham for 32 years. “He said ‘let’s try and see how it comes out.’ It turned out it passed and it operated for quite a while.”

Jones called Barham’s death a “huge” loss.

“People don’t realize if you live in the area the things that he did,” Jones said. “He was mayor for years and years, and did things for other folks. He was amazing.”

Capron Mayor Nick Kitchen, who succeeded Barham, noted that Barham was instrumental in securing grants for the Capron water tower.

“He was a very hands-on person and didn’t mind doing the work himself,” Kitchen said. “He will be missed.”

Former Capron District County Supervisor Moses Wyche will forever be thankful for Barham offering him a job out of high school. The 70-year-old remained with J.T. Barham for 48 years, operating the grocery store.

“He was nice to me,” Wyche said. “Capron will never be the same again. He’s done so much for the town.”

Wyche noted that Barham was a fan of auto racing and bluegrass.