Hugh Barr dies at 88

Football coaches usually are thought of as tough customers shouting plays.

Not Hugh Barr.

He may have had his heated moments during a tense game, but under it all he was a sweet man, with a kind disposition, lots of ideas and even more friends.

He was also the father of eight-man football in Washington. That is no small thing.

There had been six-man and 11-man football teams through the years of World War II.

But upon returning to Washington after his wartime service, Barr convinced other coaches to agree to the eight-man teams that have existed in smaller communities here ever since.

(Local fans may recall that at age 67, Hugh played in the famous "Codger Bowl" football game in 1988, a replay of the 1938 game between St. John and Colfax. In his own playing days, at Colfax High School, he was known as The Jackrabbit of the Palouse.)

But football was not all-consuming for him.

"It's important to remember that he was very devoted to the arts and education as well as sports," said his son, the Rev. Roger Barr, pastor of Kennewick First United Methodist Church.

Barr taught biology and history, becoming a principal and superintendent. At Kennewick High School he was head football coach for the Lions before moving on.

He returned to Kennewick with his beloved wife Kathryn in 2006, to be near family.

Hugh Barr died shortly before his 89th birthday. Just days before his death he was in his usual pew in his son's church.

A service to mark his life will be at 11 a.m. today at Kennewick First United Methodist Church.