Nelson Travis Barr Jr.

August 15, 1936July 2, 2013

NELSON TRAVIS BARR, JR., 76, in Tucson, Arizona, passed away on Tuesday, July 2, 2013, after a long illness.

A longtime resident of Tucson, Nelson was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and spent his childhood and youth in Chattanooga. He was a 1955 graduate of Notre Dame High School. Nelson joined the Marine Corps after graduation and later served in the Air Force. After training at the Army Language School in Monterey, California, Nelson was assigned as a Russian interpreter at the Pentagon. Following his military service, Nelson studied at Providence College in Rhode Island and at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Arizona in Tucson, where he also taught English. Prior to that, he taught philosophy at the Catholic University of Santiago, Chile.

Nelson was preceded in death by his parents, Nelson Travis Barr and Margaret Faitha Dean Barr of Chattanooga.

He is survived by a son, Joshua Nelson of New York, and a daughter, C. Faitha Bailey Sluets and son-in-law, David Slutes of Tucson; two grandchildren, Jack Daithi and Selkie Frances Sluets of Tucson; brother, Dr. David Farrington Barr of Melbourne, Florida, and sister, Mary Charlotte Barr of Chattanooga; aunt, Mary Dean Degenhard, and nephew, Christopher Farrington Barr.

The family will receive friends from 7: PM to 8: PM on Friday, July 5 at the North Chapel of the Chattanooga Funeral Home, followed by the recitation of the rosary.

A Latin requiem mass will be celebrated at 9:30 AM on Saturday, July 6 at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in downtown Chattanooga, with Father David Carter as celebrant and Nelson’s lifelong friend, David Pennebaker, as organist.

Following the funeral, Nelson will be buried in the family plot at Forest Hills Cemetery in Saint Elmo, Clifton Durham, Al Clarke, Bob Bagby and Jimmy Day serving as honorary pallbearers.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to his favorite charity, Saint Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

Arrangements are by the North Chapel of Chattanooga Funeral Home, Crematory and Florist, 5401 Highway 153, Hixson.


  • Visitation Friday, July 5, 2013
  • A Latin requiem mass Saturday, July 6, 2013

Nelson Travis Barr Jr.

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Cheryl Barr

July 8, 2013

Dear Charlotte and Faitha,

My thoughts are with you both. I know how deeply you care. This time is now about you and healing.
Love, Cheryl

July 7, 2013

I returned to a new beginning,
me, my brother, and the dog,
to retrace those moments
of uncertain madness
too deep
in once had been to come.
Yet we know the way of folk-rich metaphor
which presses voyagers on a prune colored lake
in believable form,
between an amber New Hampshire sky,
poling a flatboat with maple poles
which serve as eyes when meeting the dark
of unseasoned loyalties missed.
We found a time both old and new,
and climbing the candle drippings
of pine resin on our feet and hands,
and spaced ourselves kite-like
before the willing thrust of the wind,
and felt our jaw muscles ache
from the grinning and the knowing
of things unsaid.
Poling back at the dog's insistence,
we rounded the jutting spit of land
into the channel and the faster current beyond.
But we will return,
my brother and me,
for we are our years and dreams
to the last instant;
inconclusive light streams
through portholes improbable,
and we shall climb again
as we did in youth
to those tip-top limbs
of past summer days,
swaying in harmony and grinning
at the wind-
between the prune juice lake
and amber sky-endless-
to the extent of vision
toward horizons we shall meet.

RETURN TRIP by David Farrington Barr

July 6, 2013

Marcia Barnes

July 6, 2013

"Death is nothing at all; it does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room." Henry Scott Holland 1847-1918