Barry Nolf

Published 9:53 am Friday, June 29, 2012

FRANKLIN—The finest, kindest, smartest, funniest, toughest, most well rounded man that I have ever known died on June 19, 2012, in the Heart Pavilion at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

He fought hard for his life until the very end. Barry never met a stranger, be it a person or a critter. He was a good steward of the earth in so many ways.

He left me, Toni Dellinger Nolf, his best friend and wife of 12 years, behind to mourn his loss, along with our son, Jacob.

Barry is also survived by his parents, Dr. Robert Nolf, and Mrs. Jean Nolf; his brother Scott Nolf; and his father-in-law and best friend, Peewee Dellinger.

He was predeceased by his beloved mother-in-law, Helen Carol Dellinger, and his faithful companion, Lucy.

As I struggle to find the perfect words at this time, I need to borrow from the words of Barry’s and my dearest friends:

From Louis: I lost a great friend last night. I close my eyes and I see his smiling face…..Barry was always smiling. I see his unruly head of hair, too long for his age, but fitting just the same.

Barry was the most gifted natural athlete I’ve ever known. From golf to shuffle board — he always won but without a shred of arrogance.

He was gifted with common sense and common decency. An innovator at work and at home…creative and talented. Strong willed….belligerent at times…..generous to a fault.

Barry could strike up a conversation with anyone, and he made everyone he met feel immediately at ease.

Jacob, I hope you know how special your father was to so many and I’m sorry you two didn’t have more time together….your pop was one genuinely cool character.

God bless you Barry and thanks for being my friend and fishing bud….I’ll always remember you….especially when I make an exceptional catch hopefully with Jacob by my side.

I’ll do my best to tell him what a great man, fisherman, outdoorsman and friend you were. You were one in a million and I won’t forget you. “Haul in your anchor and let the sheet out as you ride on the wind, son of a son of a sailor man…….”

From Dwight: I consider myself extremely fortunate to have called Barry my friend. My life has been much richer for having known him.

We had more outdoor adventures than I can even remember (and some that I have seen pictures of that I still can’t remember) camping, skiing, kayaking, crabbing, fishing. Anything that we were doing was always a blast with Barry. Always!

I keep getting choked up thinking back on so many great times that we had. Barry was about the most laid back fellow that I have ever met. Any challenge seemed so easy for him to handle.

I really admired how inquisitive and adept he was at learning new skills. Barry could do just about anything that he put his mind to from rolling a kayak, to tying flies, to construction, to raising chickens.

Although Barry was not with us for nearly as long as he should have been, he lived more LIFE than most people could live in many lifetimes. Rest in peace my brother! You taught us all many things, but mostly about just…life.

From Marshall: In my mind, I feel Barry knows that I’m with him and have been throughout these months of pain. I will have a personal service for Barry in a place where we shared a common love and found our similar spiritual fix.

We had a number of discussions about finding God while in solitude amidst the natural beauty of Earth and this universe, and I know that he is now soaring above us in a state of peace and bliss. We’ve really only had a short relationship, but it has been extremely powerful and inspiring for me and he became one of my best friends quickly.

Barry lived a life I want to emulate. He was a laid back guy, but his passion for living was full of energy, love, determination, dreams, and he possessed an incredible work ethic. He could do anything for himself.

He was always striving to learn and better himself and was extremely knowledgeable in vast subjects. From building houses, tying flies, golfing, snow boarding, understanding medicine and the body, talking history, philosophy, and sports to loving a wife and son, Barry lived an incredible life that was full of adventure and deep meaning.

The past few months have been tough on me as well, and I’m saddened to lose a friend and mentor, but I’m glad he is no longer suffering. He defied odds and was a true soldier throughout all of this, and his desire to hold on was remarkable.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to see him in the hospital, but my memories of him and my time spent with him, is how he will live on in my heart and daily life. I’m sorry for the world’s loss.

Barry was born in Bethesda, Md., on December 3, 1958. He lived in Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Quantico Va.; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; London, England; and Virginia Beach before he, Toni and Jacob settled in Courtland, Va., five years ago.

The three Nolfs gained a whole new giant family in the midst of neighbors and friends in Darden Mill Estates, Southampton County and Franklin. Many thanks to all of these folks who helped us through these trying times.

Barry was educated at East Carolina University and graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in Medical Technology. He worked at DePaul, Norfolk General, and then spent 18 years at LifeNet, where he worked in all aspects of organ and tissue transplant. His work at LIfeNet was concentrated in the Cardiovascular Production Department, where he retired as manager in 2006.

Barry also held, along with his co-workers at Lifenet, several US patents for the decellularization of human tissue (“Process for Decellularizing Soft-Tissue Engineered Medical Implants, and Decellularized Soft-Tissue Medical Implants Produced”).

From 2006-2011 Barry was the Vice President of BTNolf&Son, Inc., class A contractor and custom builder.

In the last year of his life, Barry took great pride and pleasure in owning and operating Blackwater Outfitters. Barry always dreamed of kayaking and fishing for a living. He lived his dream in Franklin, Va., where he made a tremendous impact on the community.

A memorial celebration of Barry’s life will be held on the evening of July 28th at Barrett’s Landing in Franklin. Details will be announced at a later time. It will be a very casual event.

Wright Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.