Barry Weller, who served Washington University in St. Louis library patrons for nearly 25 years, and who, as B. Weller, made an indelible mark as an actor of remarkable versatility, died of a heart attack May 28, 2016, in St. Louis. He was 50.
In a moving tribute to Weller, published May 29 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, theater critic Judith Newmark asked, “Was there any role beyond B. Weller’s range?”
Weller’s “performances displayed such variety in style and mood, and such an absence of ‘look-at-me’ egotism, that it’s possible some theatergoers saw and enjoyed him time after time without realizing it was the same actor in each role,” Newmark wrote.
Weller approached his work at the library just as professionally, colleagues recalled. He began his career at Washington University in July 1991 as a circulation assistant in Olin Library, then moved to database management. In 1997, Weller became a library technical assistant for the West Campus library facility. In this capacity, he oversaw the circulation, retrieval and stacks-management processes, and he supervised student assistants. He also managed the West Campus Conference Center.
“Like perhaps many performers, Barry was quiet in other aspects of his life,” said Shelli Kastin, head of Publishing Production Services and West Campus librarian. “Acting was his passion, but he took pride in doing his 9-5 job well. He was very conscientious, knowledgeable and reliable.”
Kastin added that Weller was known for his dry sense of humor and problem-solving skills.
“I worked with Barry for 16 years,” said Anthony Spraggins, also a library technical assistant at West Campus Library. “If I had any questions about something I needed a second opinion on, he was always my go-to person. We had a very good working relationship that got better as the years went by.
“Barry will be truly missed.”
Weller was born in Columbia, Mo., in 1966, and lived there until his family moved to Webster Groves when he was a teenager. He earned a bachelor’s degree in theater from Hope College in Holland, Mich.
Weller is survived by his sisters, Holly Weller and Sarah Weller, to whom he was very close. They both work at University Libraries.
Friends and family will gather from 7-9 p.m. June 27 at the Webster Groves High School Auditorium, 100 Selma Ave., for a celebration of Weller’s life.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Barry Weller Memorial Scholarship being established by R-S Theatrics. The scholarship will be awarded annually to an incoming freshman majoring in theater. Contributions may be mailed to R-S Theatrics, c/o Barry Weller Memorial Scholarship, 524 N. Laclede Station Road, St. Louis, Mo., 63119.
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