Allen Fire Chief remembered as ‘true gentleman’

When he talked to customers at Mrohs Gas Inc. in Crisfield, David Barry often repeated his motto: If you’re not happy, we’re not happy.

And Barry had a way of cheering and pleasing those he came in contact with, including Danny Mrohs, co-owner of the company that employed him for nearly 10 years, recalling how shocked he was to learn Barry was killed on July 15 in a car crash in Millsboro. Loved ones gathered for his funeral last Saturday at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.

“When I found out he had died, it was just like somebody hit me in the chest in with a two-by-four. I couldn’t believe it. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore,” Mrohs said.

“I never looked at him like he was an employee and I was his boss. He was my friend, my colleague. I knew him before he went to work for me,” he said, recalling Barry was formally with a competing company before accepting a position as service representative for the Crisfield company. The 66-year-old Barry, who lived in Eden, was also chief of the Allen Volunteer Fire Department.

“He was like family. Dave was like family. He was a true gentleman,” Mrohs said.

“He was a man of character. He was kind, gentle. He was caring. He was just a selfless individual. Dave was hired to do sales and customer service. But Dave was just a walking book of knowledge. He came up in the gas business. He started out originally as a service technician, so he had a working knowledge of the business. There wasn’t much of anything he couldn’t do. If I ever had a gap somewhere that needed to be filled I could always rely on Dave to jump in there and fill the void.

“His personality was beaming. He always had a smile on his face, a dry sense of humor. He was always laughing. In the 10 years the man was here, I don’t recall a time when I ever saw him in a bad mood,” Mrohs said.

Wayne Naumann, EMS supervisor at the Allen Fire Department, was at the station when a police officer arrived with the news of his death.

“I asked the officer, ‘Are you sure?’ I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

“Dave was a good man and he will be missed by everyone. He was active with the county and the chiefs’ associations. He had a good sense of humor. He always was smiling. He treated everyone exceptionally well, even when he was telling you that you were doing something wrong. It was just the way he treated people. He was always there to help anybody who asked for help,” Naumann said.

A native of Salisbury, Barry was the son of Mildred Ford Barry of Crisfield and the late William James Ford Sr.

He was a member of Tony Tank Tribe 149, Order of Red Men in Fruitland and former member of Christ U.M. Church in Fairmount. In his obituary, his family wrote that he enjoyed spending time with them and his friends, as well as playing golf and umpiring his grandchildren’s softball games.

He was looking forward to retiring and had purchased property for a summer home in Delaware.

“He’ll be extremely missed,” Naumann said.

“He was very aggressive in getting things done. We got a lot of things accomplished since he’s been chief, about three years. He’s been very proactive in the fire department and EMS as well.

“He could joke with people and he could take jokes. I don’t know anybody he treated any differently even people he may have disliked but he never talked badly about anybody,” Naumann said.

“I was a better person for knowing him.”


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