Southside's own 'Brother Bob' remembered as an inspiration after his death

(Photo provided by WAKG)

DANVILLE, Va. (WSET) -- The Southside is mourning the loss of a pastor and legendary radio show host in Danville, Reverend R.J. Barber Jr.

He was known as 'Brother Bob' to most people and would record his popular show 'Tabernacle Time,' in the WAKG/WBTM studios.

'Tabernacle Time' is deemed to be the longest running continuous Christian daily broadcast in America.

His family, friends, and listeners said he will be deeply missed.

The pastor delivered inspirational messages to his 'Tabernacle Time' radio audience for nearly 60 years at 7 a.m. and midnight five days a week.

He died at the age of 90 on Saturday, February 10 after years of declining health. He was a pastor at several churches in the area and in Texas, but spent 15 years at The Tabernacle in Danville.

"He was able to get on the radio and talk about spiritual and religious issues in a way that the average listener would still hang around and listen," David Hutcheson said. He worked with 'Brother Bob' for 23 years.

His youngest brother, Doug Barber, will be filling in for him, at least until the end of February.

"He loved to have fun," Barber said. "He loved to play jokes on people, he had a great sense of humor, he loved to tell stories... he was a great storyteller."

Producer Jon Talbott said he reached many people.

"WAKG's audience is over 100,000, and that's just right now, so I can't imagine how many people would be a part of the 'Tabernacle Time' family if you put them all together in one room," Talbott said. "Most churches in this town probably couldn't hold them."

Melinda Scott and her family considered listening to 'Brother Bob' as a family tradition. "The lives that he touched through us and through others, I know will carry on," she said.

'Brother Bob' said he planned to be on the radio until he went home to heaven. In fact, he left a recording to be played after he died on Tabernacle Time. His final words to everyone included, "Thanks for your prayers, thanks for your support, love and all of the feelings you've expressed to me through mail, through phone calls, and everywhere I go, to God be all the glory."

His funeral service will Wednesday, February 14 at 2 p.m. at the Tabernacle in Danville.

Family will receive friends before the service starting at 12:15 p.m.

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