Judge William Barbour Jr. was a man whose actions spoke louder than his words.
In his case, that’s a significant statement because Judge Barbour was a wise man. He was extremely intelligent, ethical and fair. His words carried tremendous weight.
But Barbour, who died last week at age 79, wasn’t interested in using those words for self-promotion. When he retired as a federal judge, he didn’t want any fanfare about his career – even though it was much deserved.
In fact, the only time he seemed excited about being involved with any publicity was when it was celebrating others.
He was excited when he contacted us about a photo with Judge Carlton Reeves and Judge Debra Brown, who are also federal judges from Yazoo City. He once shared with us a photo of an Eagle Scout ceremony at First Presbyterian Church where he was the guest speaker because he wanted the young men who earned the honor to be recognized.
At most events where we encountered Judge Barbour he was the most interesting man in the room and the least interested in talking about himself. Perhaps that has always been a rare quality, but in today’s environment it’s almost unheard of.
But what most defined Judge Barbour was his Christian faith. He was the kind of man who led by example.
We once heard it said of Judge Barbour that he would do the right thing, even if it wasn’t what he wanted to do.
We need more men like Judge Barbour in today’s society. Hopefully many of us will honor his memory by trying to be more like him.