Thomas M. Barber was born on April 3, 1970, in Jacksonville and was raised just outside of Jacksonville in Baker County, Florida. He was a loyal and dedicated husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was dearly loved by all who knew him. He died in the line of duty on Monday, June 14, 2021, at the age of 51.
Thomas joined the United States Navy in 1988 immediately after high school. He proudly served in the Gulf War and was honorably discharged in 1992. Captain Barber’s post-military career path began with the Florida Department of Corrections. He then became a volunteer firefighter with the Baker County Fire and Rescue. As a volunteer firefighter, he learned of his love of firefighting and serving others in this capacity. Ultimately, he earned certifications for Firefighter 1, Firefighter 2, and EMT.
He first served as a firefighter with the Cecil Field Navy Base Fire Station. He then transferred to NAS Jax Fire Station before joining the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, which he served faithfully for 21 years. Tommy was a member of IAFF Local Union 122 and was promoted to captain with Jacksonville Fire and Rescue in 2019.
Thomas loved to hunt, fish, and cook. He brewed his own beer and was a huge gun enthusiast. He was a devoted husband to his wife of 22 years, Malissa, and an adoring father to their children, Garrett, Caroline, and Olivia. He was a Christian man who dedicated his life to serving others. Thomas was a wonderful protector and provider for his family, a hero to many, and a friend to all. He was known for his generosity, selflessness, kind heart, compassion, loyalty, courage and, most of all, his unforgettable smile.