By David Hopper
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Bobby “Pete” Barnard was born in 1930 in Norman. He attended Wilson Elementary School (and confirmed that Roy Hamilton wrote the Wilson Wildcats Fight Song). While at Norman High School, he played football and baseball; he was All-State in baseball.
Bobby enrolled in OU in 1948 and played freshman baseball. He laid out a semester, then came back to OU in general studies during the second semester of 1950. He met his future wife, Francine, during his semester out of OU.
In June 1950, he joined the National Guard’s 45th Infantry Division and eventually was assigned to the 120th Medical Battalion. He was mobilized on Aug. 10, 1950, and sent to Camp Polk, La., for basic training.
He said on his first day at basic training, he was given guard duty; on the second day, he was assigned latrine duty; and on his third day, he was on KP duty.
While he was doing his KP chores the cook asked him if would like to become a cook. Bobby said, “I can’t boil water, but if becoming a cook will get me out of all these details, I’ll become a cook.” So, he became a cook in the National Guard.
Bobby came home from Camp Polk during Christmas on a five-day pass to marry Francine. After their wedding, Francine went back with Bobby to Camp Polk to pathetic living conditions.
In their first apartment, they only had one room, and it didn’t have a door; they had to hang a blanket over the doorway for privacy, and they shared a bathroom. But as Francine noted, they were in love and they hardly noticed the inconveniences.
After about six months in Hokkaido, Japan, in 1951, Bobby’s unit shipped out to Korea, eventually arriving at the combat zone. He had to cook Christmas dinner while they were on the move, and he had to prepare it outdoors — there was no tent for the kitchen.
He often heard shells flying overhead, but he was never targeted. He rotated home in May 1952. Bobby still likes to cook for his family.
Once back home, he went to plumbing school and worked for Smalley Plumbing for one year. He then went to work for the city of Norman in the city clerk’s office, where he handled the billing for the water department until 1957.
One day, Jack Patten, from Security National Bank, offered him a job at the bank. He worked there as a teller from 1957 to 1995. He was the teller at the first drive-thru window for the bank. He was once robbed at gunpoint as he was carrying the money from the drive-thru windows to the main bank.
Bobby and Francine have three grown children, Bruce, Claudia and Chad.
The Norman Veterans Committee is sponsoring the Veterans Day Parade at 10 a.m. Nov. 9. The parade will proceed down Jenkins Avenue to the Cleveland County Veterans Memorial at Reaves Park, where a ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. Retired Lt. Gen. Harry M. “Bud” Wyatt, a former adjutant general for Oklahoma and director of the Air National Guard in the Pentagon, will be the keynote speaker.
The theme for the parade this year is Red, White and Blue — Veterans on the March. Organizers encourage honor guards, marching bands, floats, motorcycle groups, car clubs all with the same underlying desire — to honor our veterans. — to participate.
Groups or organizations wishing to participate in the parade may download an application from normanfun.com. The deadline for parade entries is Oct. 31.
For more information contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 366-5472.