Thomas Lee Barney, Esq. 

by | Jul 11, 2024 | Obituaries

NORFOLK – Thomas Lee Barney, 77, passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 19 after a long and courageous battle with cancer. 

Born March 20, 1947, in Portsmouth, Va., to parents Jacob Arnold Barney and Miriam Eisenberg Barney Katz, Tom was proudly a lifelong Virginian. After graduating in 1965 from Churchland High School, Tom received his undergraduate degree from Athens College in Alabama in 1969. He then went on to earn his degree in law from the University of Memphis in 1972, passing the bar in both Tennessee and Virginia that same year. He was a successful attorney for 52 years, 51 of those in Virginia.

In his teenage years, during the summers, Tom worked as a camp counselor. At camp, he was an instructor and lifeguard known for swimming the butterfly and inventing “The Barney Special” – a distinct diving technique leaving campers and staff in awe. Although an accomplished lawyer, where he firmly believed everyone has a story and the right to tell it, Tom was also a sweet husband, devoted stepfather and grandfather and was most proud of his relationships with his wife, stepchildren, and grandchildren – where he was affectionately known as Papa Tom and on occasion…ThomAss.

Tom is preceded in death by his parents and is survived by his loving wife of 11 years, Marcia H. Barney, stepchildren Lauren Robinson (Russ), Lindsey Ferguson (Rob), both of Charlotte, N.C., and Bridger Hodsden (Alice) of Altadena, Calif., step-grandchildren Drew, Julia, and Jack Robinson, Lola and Ginger Ferguson, and Rachel and baby-to-be Hodsden, brother John Barney (Linda), niece Jessi Barney Hart (Jamie) and nephew Jake Barney (Laura), grandnieces Abbey Hart and Cammie Barney and grandnephew Ryan Hart, all of Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas, cousin Normie Sher (Sandy) of Virginia Beach, as well as other cousins and very dear friends. 

Tom loved all music, technology trends, the stock market, a variety of cuisine, politics, traveling, fast cars, and really good coffee. He also had a special love for animals, especially dogs, particularly his last dog, Sophie. 

During his illness, he never once complained “why me?” He just lived and loved life. He will always be remembered for his generosity and kindness, his laughter, clever quips, and his love for his family.

A funeral service was held at Forest Lawn East Cemetery in Weddington, N.C. Remembrances may be offered in memory of Tom to a local animal shelter or the charity of the donor’s choice. As two parting phrases of Tom’s fondness: Kumbaya and Full Tilt Boogie.