Returned servicemen placed poppies on the coffin at the funeral of Keith Henry Barry OAM at St Mary’s Anglican Church Ballina.
Returned servicemen placed poppies on the coffin at the funeral of Keith Henry Barry OAM at St Mary’s Anglican Church Ballina.

Old-school gentleman

BALLINA'S St Mary's Anglican Church was filled with 250 people yesterday who gathered to celebrate the life of "a gentleman from the old school" - former Northern Region traffic Sergeant, Keith Barry OAM.

Mr Barry, who served in the NSW police force for 33 years, was described by his daughter Lesley Smith as a man who had "great self-discipline, drive and a great dedication to his community".

After enlisting in the navy in 1941, Mr Barry worked as a radar operator on the state-of-the-art HMAS Shropshire and was involved in the battle of the Philippines.

In 1945 he married the "apple of his eye" Thelma.

In 1946 he joined the police force and rose through the ranks to become a traffic sergeant at Liverpool in Sydney.

When he was transferred to Lismore as the Northern Region traffic sergeant in 1967 he became heavily involved in the local community.

Mr Barry played integral roles in the Ballina by-pass steering committee, the redevelopment of Ballina Bowling Club and the first stage of renovations at Ballina RSL, where he was later awarded life membership.

Mrs Smith lovingly reflected on her father's love of fishing, his shared love of gardening with Thelma and his dedication to the police force.

"Dad was a gentleman from the old school," she said.

"He loved his job as a policeman."

Mr Barry retired from the police force in December 1978 when he was based at Petersham in Sydney and went on to enjoy a long association with the NSW Retired Police Association.

The 91-year-old died in Lismore Base Hospital on July 9. He is survived by his daughters Wendy, Lesley and Robyn, his two son-in-laws, eight grand children and 12 great grand children.



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