Darryl Barrs, Owner of Program Success Magazine, Dies at 62

Shown are jazz patrons Gwen and Darryl Barrs ready to party with Festival organizer Zita Steglich-Ross

By ANDREAS BUTLER | FLORIDA COURIER – www.daytonatimes.com – Florida Publisher Darryl A. Barrs Sr. died on Feb. 16 at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach.

Barrs, 62, was the publisher and managing editor of Program Success magazine, which highlights triumphs and achievements of Blacks in the state as well as the issues Black Floridians face.

Based in Daytona Beach, it also focuses on Black businesses around the country.

Barrs co-owned the magazine with his wife, Gwendolyn E. Barrs, who plans to continue the magazine.

A viewing is scheduled for Friday, March 8 at R.J. Gainous Funeral Home, 804 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd., Daytona Beach.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, March 9 at Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church, 580 George W. Engram Blvd., Daytona Beach.

His sister, Evangelist Deborah Barrs-Dix told the Florida Courier, “People will just miss seeing him and him being around.

“He’ll be missed in all that he was involved in such as all the organizations. His laughter and corny jokes will also be missed as well as his smile.”

Barrs was a driven individual, his sister noted.

“Ever since my brother became an adult, he always did his own thing. He was always independent and self-sufficient,’’ Barrs-Dix said. “He had a vision in the 10th grade that he would never work on someone else’s job. He did do part-time jobs here and there, but for the most part he was self-employed.”

‘Always a leader’

Barrs was an inspiration to many that he came across as well as those who he showcased in his publications and those he even helped.

“People are saying all over social media how much of an inspiration he was to them and how much he helped them.

He was always giving a helping hand and looking out for others. I am just proud of him. You know he was class president at Spruce Creek High [in Daytona Beach] in 1979 and class president at Bethune-Cookman. He was always a leader,” noted Barrs-Dix.

Onyx Magazine, another magazine based in Central Florida, also celebrates Black achievement. Rich Black is CEO and publisher of Onyx.

It honored Barrs and shared a post on its Facebook page, which states:

“My dearest condolences to Gwen and the family, so sorry to hear this. I remember Darryl and I discussing his successful magazine. He had so much determination and great spirit.”

Daytona native and Bethune-Cookman grad Barrs was born on May 27,1961 to Rev. Amos and Violet Barrs in Daytona Beach. He was the third of seven children and the oldest son.

Barrs attended Turie T. Small Elementary, South Daytona Elementary and Campbell Junior High.

He graduated from Spruce Creek High School in 1979 where he served as Student Government Association (SGA) president. His campaign slogan while running for SGA president was “Aim for the Stars and Vote for Barrs.’’

Barrs also was in the Spruce Creek Hawks Marching Band and received many accolades during this time.

He later graduated from Bethune-Cookman College (now University), majoring in Business Administration. He later received a theological degree from a seminary in Georgia.

Barrs was always a visionary and a man who made decisions about his future at a young age.

From Christian Reader to Program Success

He found his niche and started his first publication, the Christian Reader, along with his wife, Gwen, in 1993.

This newspaper became very successful for many years and later produced the magazine Program Success in 2008. It now showcases businesses in the African American Communities throughout the United States. The magazine celebrated its 31st Anniversary on February 9.

Program Success actually started out in Orlando as a program to help Black youth start their own businesses back in 1989 according to its website, www.programsuccess.net. It was first published as The Christian Reader newspaper in Palatka in 1993.

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