More than 60 friends gathered in Drayton Hall’s raised English basement and on the lawn outside on Sunday, October 21, to pay tribute to the man who for more than three decades was Drayton Hall’s senior interpretive guide. Fortune favored A Tribute to Bob Barker with sublimely beautiful fall weather. Halfway through the two-hour event, guests were invited into the basement for the singing of Happy Birthday to Bob (his birthday is October 20), a welcome by Drayton Hall Executive Director George McDaniel, and a series of brief, but heartfelt tributes from McDaniel, Charlie Drayton, Janie Clayton, Jill Foster, Merrill Benfield, and Gene Brown, who served as master of ceremonies. Regrettably, Booie Chappell, one of Bob’s longtime colleagues in the ranks of interpretive guides at Drayton Hall, was unable to attend due to ill health. Besides Drayton Hall, sponsors for A Tribute to Bob Barker included Carriage Properties LLC, Drayton Real Estate, Lois Lane Properties, and Thomas and Denzinger Architects, all of Charleston.
During his remarks, George McDaniel announced that Drayton Hall has created The Robert E. Lee Barker Endowment Fund for Interpretation. The event program explained the purpose of the fund as follows:
In recognition of and gratitude for his remarkable service to Drayton Hall and the greater Charleston community, and wishing to establish a lasting tribute, Drayton Hall created the Robert E. Lee Barker Endowment Fund for Interpretation in the fall of 2012. Annual income from this named endowment fund will honor Bob and help facilitate and enhance the interpretation of Drayton Hall throughout all future years. Tribute gifts to this fund may be made out to Drayton Hall marked Barker Endowment Fund and mailed to 3380 Ashley River Road, Charleston, South Carolina 29414.
Scroll below for some pictures that captured the spirit of this very special afternoon: