Joseph Holleman Barlow, Sr.

Published 1:34 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

Joseph Holleman Barlow, Sr., 94, died April 27, 2023. He was born on July 21, 1928, the middle child of five born to Gladys and Gordon Barlow. He grew up in Smithfield, Virginia on Oak Crest Farm and attended Smithfield High School, becoming class president of the class of 1946. He earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Virginia Tech, class of 1950.

After graduation, he was a territory manager for John Deere, serving the Eastern Shore from Virginia to Delaware. In 1953, he married Margaret Taylor of Suffolk VA after she graduated from Longwood College. He served in the Air Force, assigned to the Office of Special Investigations in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1959, he purchased Cotton Plains Farm near Chuckatuck from Junius Batten. On Cotton Plains, he raised peanuts, corn, soybeans, cattle and hogs as well as his three children, assorted dogs, many cats, a few sheep, one horse and chickens.

In addition to farming, he offered his time for community service and was often chosen for leadership roles, such as President of the State Board of Agriculture, Chairman of the Suffolk School Board, Board of Visitors of Virginia Tech, First Citizen of Suffolk, Governor of the Jamestowne Society and Suffolk City Council. He was a lifelong member of Smithfield Baptist Church and regularly attended Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church.

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He was predeceased by his parents, Gladys Holleman Barlow and Gordon Eugene Barlow, his brothers Gene and Billy K. and his first wife, the mother of his children, Margaret.

He is survived by his wife of 26 years, Lynn Barlow, his sisters Hannah Bain of Wakefield and Sarah Wright of Smithfield, sister-in-law Taylor Barlow, his children Nancy Alwood (David) of Midlothian VA, Jo Anne Mathus (Bill) of Kill Devil Hills NC, Joseph H. Barlow, Jr. (Shelley) of Cotton Plains Farm, Suffolk VA and his five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

The family wishes to thank Shelia Beacham and her team of caregivers for their tireless, compassionate care of our entire family in his final months.

There will be a visitation on Monday, May 1 from 6:00-7:30 PM and a funeral service to celebrate his life on Tuesday, May 2 at 11:00 AM. Both will be at R. W. Baker Funeral Home, 509 W. Washington Street, Suffolk VA. His burial at Holly Lawn Cemetery, Suffolk VA, will be private. Online condolences may be registered at