Thomas “Tom” Curran Barbee

Thomas “Tom” Curran Barbee

Thomas “Tom” Curran Barbee


Thomas “Tom” Curran Barbee, 78, of Coralville, Iowa, passed away on Oct. 18, 2023, surrounded by his loved ones.

A gathering for friends and family will be held on Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, from 4 to 7 p.m. at Lensing’s Oak Hill, 210 Holiday Road, Coralville. Funeral services will take place at St. Thomas More Catholic Church on Nov. 4, 2023, at 11 a.m. Immediately after Mass, military honors will be performed. Following, there will be a celebration of life at Brown Deer Country Club.

Thomas was born on Jan. 23, 1945 (12345) in Columbus, Ohio, to Horace McCord and Martha Elizabeth (Curran) Barbee. He grew up in Ashland and Columbus, graduating from Bishop Heartly High School before attending Ohio State University. Before completion of his degree, Tom enlisted in the Air Force for four years, proudly serving in Vietnam from 1967-1968. After his return from Vietnam, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Franklin University.

Tom married the love of his life, Joretta Eader, on Jan. 29, 1966, in Columbus, Ohio. Together, they had three children, Thomas, Aaron, and Joe, living in many places throughout their young adulthood. In 1976, they moved to Iowa City, where they raised their family and established their professions.

Tom was devoted to his career. He developed his own business as a Wendy’s franchisee in Iowa and Illinois, leading the company from 1976 to 2018. During this time, he opened two other franchises: Cinnamon Corner and Orange Julius. Apart from his main occupation, Tom was also a private pilot and delighted in his many years of flying.

Tom was the president of the Cedar Rapids Kernels board of directors from 2004-2009 and served as a member of the executive board from 2006-2023. In 2014, he was inducted into the Cedar Rapids Baseball Hall of Fame.

He was adamant about giving back to his community and supporting local organizations, an ideal he passed down to members of his family. Tom was on the Four Oaks Board of Directors and Wendy’s Franchise Advisory Council, both of which he served as president for many years. He was a member of the Wendy’s National Advertising Program, Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association, Coralville Public Library Board, and was actively part of the Mount Mercy University Board of Directors until 2023. Over the course of his adulthood, he was inducted into the Wendy’s Hall of Fame and was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Franklin University.

Tom was an avid golfer and enjoyed the friendships and memories made both on and off the course. He loved to travel with his wife Joretta, the two of them having the opportunity to see many areas of the world. Tom loved to watch the Kernels play baseball and took every chance possible to spend time with his family and friends. Above all, he was passionate and proud of his sons and grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife Joretta Barbee of Coralville, Iowa; three sons, Thomas (Heather) Barbee of Ankeny, Iowa, Aaron (Tonya) Barbee of Cumming, Ga., and Joseph Barbee (Tiffany De la Peña) of Tiffin, Iowa; grandchildren Kyler, Amery, Breckin, Brock, Curran, Zoa, Cillian, and Calvin; sister Suzanne (Bruce) DeWoody of Columbus, Ohio; brother-in-law Harvey (Marlene) Eader; sister-in-law Patricia Finely; and several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents; parents-in-law Harvey and Dorothy; and brother-in-law Norman Eader.

Tom was a compassionate and charismatic man who will be dearly missed by all of those who loved him.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Kernels Foundation or Four Oaks Family and Childrens Services.

Online condolences may be sent to his family at

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