Friday, March 13, 2015
'Father' to many, Barron K. McGlothin passes at 53
The man affectionately known as “Baba” was kind, affable, civil and never forgot where he came from. He even assured his mother that he would make her proud some day.
Barron Keith McGlothlin made good on that promise. He’d become a consummate educator, businessman, executive, events planner, community servant, church worker, family man, and managed some of the industry’s top gospel artists.
“I mostly raised him without a father,” said Paralee Cager. “He never forgot the struggle that I had to go through. He loved me and always tried to see about me.”
McGlothlin loved God, too, and never forgot the church, said Cager, struggling with grief after losing a second son in less than two years. Darron McClothlin, her eldest, died in June 2013.
On Friday, Feb. 20, McClothlin was found unresponsive in a running Cadillac Escalade in an unlit area not far from the Memphis International Airport. There were no signs of foul play, Memphis police said. The cause of death is still pending.
Despite the circumstances surrounding her son’s death, Cager said, “I love my son. If I could change things, he would be with me today. God lent him to me for awhile and came back to pick up one of the best.”
McGlothlin loved his family, too, his brother said. Although 11 years separated them, “his passing was an eye-opening experience,” said the Rev. Fredrick Cager, senior pastor of True Authority Church in Cordova.
“A piece of my life is gone…a piece of the world is gone,” said Rev. Cager, who was left with the responsibility of tending his brother’s personal affairs. “I miss him, but I haven’t had the opportunity to grieve. I haven’t had the time to register that he’s passed.”
Reflecting on what his brother meant to him, Rev. Cager said, “My family was raised in poverty in North Memphis. He was the first to go to college, the first to leave Memphis, the first to branch outside the restraints (of poverty). So I attribute to him the things I’ve received (in life) by watching him.”
McGlothlin was always enlarging his territory, his brother said – for example, as an executive staff member of the Church of God in Christ’s International Music Department, as the administrative aide and business manager to the late national recording artist O’landa Draper, and as a productive member of Greater Community Temple COGIC.
“He served in many capacities such as events planner, director of Community Relations, director of our annual 10-week summer camp called ‘Camp Porter,’ where he hired certified instructors and others to provide a safe, fun and educational haven for children ages 4-15,” said Bishop Brandon B. Porter, GTC’s senior pastor and jurisdictional prelate of COGIC’s Tennessee Central Jurisdiction.
Bishop Porter also said that McGlothlin was responsible for coordinating the church’s annual picnic and worked very closely with the community benevolent outreach ministries that delivered food, clothes, toys, etc., to thousands of families in need.
The Rev. Ricky Floyd, pastor of The Pursuit of God Transformation Center, said, “On the first day Baba and I met, we instantly became family and friends.”
That was 3 ½ years ago, said Floyd, when Kingdom Alliance Entertainment presented McGlothlin, Tracy Bethea of 95.7 Hallelujah FM, and Floyd with a “Kingdom Shaker and Mover Award” for their work in advancing the “Kingdom.”
Over the course of their friendship, the clergyman noted that McGlothlin helped his son with his rapping career and helped his other son grow his graphic’s business.
He also worked with notable gospel singers such as Perfection, 4 Given, Change, Josh Bracy, The Clark Sisters, Dottie Peoples, Yolanda Adams, Kurt Carr, Kathy Taylor Brown, Crystal Rucker, and others.
Gwendolyn Turner, co-founder of the Angelic Voices of Faith, remembers having dinner with McGlothlin at a restaurant where the general manager offered to define McGlothlin’s nickname.
“He said baba in his country means father,” said Turner, using the meaning to reference McGlothlin’s multifaceted career and his intense relationship with friends and loved ones.
“Baba fathered so many of us,” she said. “He fathered us in how to treat each other; he fathered us in the ways of business; and he fathered us in music ministry. There was no one he would not help, advise, or counsel.”
McGlothlin used those inherent qualities to advance the thinking of his students in Memphis and Shelby County Schools as well, which earned him the honor of being an “Outstanding Black Educator” and “Teacher of the Year.”
“He was very smart,” his brother said.
McGlothlin’s absence is causing hearts to break.
“Our faith in God will help us get through this,” said Teresa McGlothlin, an aunt.
Visitation is Friday, Feb. 27, from 5-7 p.m. at Greater Community Temple COGIC, 5151 Winchester Rd. The funeral is 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, also at the church, followed by the interment in Southwoods Memorial Park, 5485 Hacks Cross Rd.
N.J. Ford and Sons Funeral Home has charge.