David Barber

content-first-person-david-barberRetired law enforcement officer in the fight of his life

Helping to solve crimes and protecting the citizens of Wood County has been a way of life for David Barber for more than 35 years. He served as constable of Precinct 3 for Wood County and then worked as an investigator for the sheriff’s department.

He has been part of several high profile cases including the capture of Jerry “Animal” McFadden, who was executed for the 1986 murder of a Hawkins teenager, one of three people killed during a murder spree. He also helped discover more than 3,000 marijuana plants growing at a Wood County home.

He’s been enjoying retirement with his wife, Ruth, by traveling the country and teaching law enforcement classes, such as handgun training.

But a visit to the doctor at the end of 2015 confirmed that the sensitivity he was experiencing while eating certain foods was a rare cancer in the lining of his stomach called MALToma or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma of the mucosa associated lymphoid tissue.

MALToma is usually slow growing and most people have early stage disease when they are diagnosed. The most common symptoms are indigestion, heartburn, weight loss or feeling sick and abdominal pain.

“Three years ago I had a scare that I could have early stage stomach cancer, but because of the antibiotics I was taking, it went into remission,” recalled Barber. “This time I am more at peace.”

Barber has a great attitude and is going through 15 rounds of radiation at the ETMC Cancer Institute. “After radiation, I will visit with my physicians to see what the next step will be, but I am not worried.”

Cancer is something his family members have fought before. His father died of lung cancer and his mother had breast cancer but survived.

He drives himself to treatment each day in Tyler from his home in Big Sandy. Barber said lots of friends have reached out to him and his wife for any support they need. “It’s amazing how caring people are and how they want to help you. I really appreciate everyone who has been there for me,” said Barber.


Go to the ETMC Cancer Institute page.