Barry Reyman Plotnick
February 15, 1937 – June 8, 2021
Barry Reyman Plotnick, better known in the community by his professional name Rey Barry, arrived in Charlottesville from Stamford, CT, in 1955 to attend UVa. He completed undergraduate majors in Sociology, Psychology, and Philosophy, was part of the group that created radio station WTJU, and was the station’s first chief announcer. While a student he was also a disc jockey and music director at local stations.
In 1959 he was the first to arrive at the scene of Piedmont Flight 349 that crashed into Bucks Elbow Mountain killing 26 people, and interviewed the lone survivor, Phillip Bradley.
After peculiar adventures in 17 countries, in the 1960s Rey was a reporter and columnist for The Daily Progress covering the University. An exciting time for the assignment, as these were the years of UVa’s enormous changes in the college to both integrate and co-educate. At the time many of the students, faculty, and administrators were activists opposing US involvement in the Vietnam war. Rey’s coverage of these historic events was carried across Virginia and elsewhere by the Associated Press.
On Valentine’s Day, 1970, Rey and Virginia Leonard of Frankfort, KY, who passed away September 27, 2020, were married at the Rotunda at the University, the only wedding known to take place in this historic building. While Rey was a life-long advocate of atheism, the wedding was held as a Quaker meeting.
After his newspaper days, Rey was Legislative Aide to State Senator Thomas J. Michie Jr. and for 10 years political aide to Albemarle Delegate Daniel G. Van Clief. He was campaign director or media director for numerous area politicians and served in the gubernatorial campaigns of Gov. Gerald Baliles and Lt. Gov. Henry Howell.
In 1982 under the sponsorship of the local Chamber of Commerce Rey founded SAFE - Stop Annexation Forever, to create an education campaign for a favorable vote in the county for the Charlottesville-Albemarle Revenue Sharing Agreement. Approved by 63% of the voters, the agreement has thus far earned the city more than 300 million dollars ($326,308,341 by recent 2021 calculations).
Rey was president of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Mental Health Association, and was for a decade a board member of the Tandem School. At the time of his death he was a board member of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, appointed by city council, and vice president of the Piedmont Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America. In the 1970s he and Major Percival Parks co-founded the Thomas Jefferson chapter of American Mensa.
In 1972, Rey, his wife Virginia, and their friend Dorothea Hyman opened The New School, a Montessori school for the early grades. In 1963 Rey founded Records For Recollectors to sell rare jazz recordings. It was his hobby business on ebay for 24 years for LPs, rare coins, and books.
He served on the Virginia state board of the American Civil Liberties Union for more than ten years and the Albemarle and Charlottesville Democratic committees for decades. He was a Warrant Officer in the Civil Air Patrol and the captain of his Chesapeake Bay bugeye ketch, Applejack.
Prior to his retirement in 2000 Rey was principal broker of Rey Barry Associates, Realty. As the first chairman of a computer committee of the local Board of Realtors, Rey compiled a set of free software to run a realty office before computers became commonly used in realty. This grew into an international Freeware Hall of Fame distributing free computer programs throughout the world. He later published a book honoring freeware writers.
A life-long writer, in 1997 he established a web site for the Hall of Fame and his miscellaneous writings http://www.freewarehof.org which includes his confrontation with the Attorney General of the United States which made national front page news, his friendship in Helsinki with the Russian spy who became the highest ranking KGB agent ever to defect to the US, Anatoliy Golitsyn, and his half-hour TV interview with Hollywood legend Frank Capra. The Freeware Hall of Fame web site will continue into the future under control of Rey’s longtime friend Waldo Jaquith.
Survivors include daughter Brooke Barney Plotnick of Charlottesville who was Rey’s caregiver throughout his final months with brain cancer, and her daughter Adele Koshy; daughter Apple Jannotta of Lynnwood, Washington, her husband Jeremy and beloved new grandson Luca; treasured friend and supporter, Allison Campbell, who shared care with Brooke; brother Paul Plotnick and his wife Rhea of Stamford, CT.; and their children, Ellynne and Daniel, and close friend and ally Bob Koshy of Richmond, VA.
Contributions to the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, 200 2nd Street NE, Charlottesville, VA 22902 are deeply appreciated.
Please visit with friends in his name at the BBS Banquet monthly lunch, Rey’s ‘every second Friday at noon’ tradition since 1982, currently at the Cavalier Diner. All are welcome.
(Rey’s formal obituary can be found on Legacy.com.)
Virginia "Gimmer" Plotnick
September 2, 1941 - September 27, 2020
Virginia Leonard Plotnick, 79, "Gimmer Barry" died peacefully at home on Sunday, September 27, 2020, after a fearless and graceful nine-year struggle with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Gimmer touched the hearts of all. She was active in the Democratic party and an avid women's rights supporter. She met her true love, Rey Barry, while flying down a zip line during an Albemarle County Democratic event for Eugene McCarthy in 1968. On a snowy Valentine's in 1970, they had the only wedding to take place inside the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. Married for over 50 years, their love story inspires.
Gimmer began her career with the Child Life Program at Cleveland Hospital under founder Emma Plank. After moving to Charlottesville, Gimmer was on the founding staff of the Molly Michie Pre-School. Later, she was Co-founder, Development Director, and teacher of The New School. Following sale of the school, she worked for structural engineers Dunbar, Milby, and Williams. She was then Assistant to the Director of the Virginia Discovery Museum where she founded the gift shop. She capped her career as a Paralegal with Herbert Beskin at Parker, McElwain & Jacobs. Before a 10 year stint as a Realtor with Roy Wheeler and later her husband’s firm, Rey Barry Associates.
Gimmer’s skills with a sewing machine included elaborate costumes for her girls like an apple, trees, even a book. In later years she created dresses for her granddaughter showcasing her skills and commitment to sustainability and reuse.
A gifted gardener, she thrived in the garden, hands full of plants, weeding, pruning, bringing life from Virginia red clay; in later years enjoying deer outside her windows. A lover of words, she connected with beloved family and friends through online Scrabble.
She was a top-notch cook; loved Blue Mondays and Kentucky Creamed Pull Candy; Rey’s skillful First Mate sailing the Chesapeake on their bugeye ketch Applejack; an accomplished low-handicap golfer; swimmer of notable speed and even faster typist. She avidly followed UVA basketball, was an entertaining piano and guitar player, and for years a revered example of selfless courage.
She never let her terminal illness invade her spirit, and was the first to share a smile or a song when family or only Rey was there.
Born on September 2, 1941, in Frankfort, Ky., to Dr. and Mrs. Thomas P. Leonard, Gimmer graduated from Frankfort High School and Case Western Reserve. A popular cheerleader and member of many clubs, Gimmer kept in lifelong touch with high school friends.
She leaves behind her brother, Dr. Thomas Leonard and wife, Linda, of Frankfort, Ky.; her husband, "Rey" Barry Plotnick of Charlottesville; her daughter, Brooke and darling granddaughter, Adele, of Richmond, Va.; and her daughter, Apple Plotnick Jannotta and husband, Jeremy, of Lynnwood, Wash. We hold the greatest respect and appreciation for the professional care and personal encouragement of Dr. Alexander Schult of Sentara Martha Jefferson and Dr. William Fox of Fox and Brantley. The skilled staff of the Hospice of the Piedmont made a huge difference when her time approached and we are forever grateful to this extraordinary institution.
We plan to hold a September 2021 Celebration of Life near her 80th birthday. Donations in the name Virginia Plotnick can be made to the following that represent Gimmer's strongest values:
(Gimmer’s formal obituary can be found on Legacy.com.)