Founding Four Freshmen member Ross Barbour died Saturday in his Simi Valley, Calif., home from lung cancer. He was 82.
Barbour was the last surviving original member of the popular 1950s harmony quartet, preceded in death by three months by his cousin Bob Flanigan. A native of Burnsville, Ind., Barbour formed the group with Hal Krazitch, Marvin Pruitt (replaced by Flanigan early on) and brother Don Barbour at Indianapolis’ Butler U. in 1948. In addition to supplying his baritone vocals, Barbour played drums for the group.
The foursome initially operated as a barbershop quartet but gradually incorporated greater jazz stylings. After signing to Capitol Records in the early ’50s, the group had a string of hits with “Graduation Day,” “Mood Indigo,” “Day by Day” and “It’s a Blue World.” The group was nominated for six Grammys.
Barbour retired from the group in 1977, though new members continued to perform under the Four Freshmen name, with Flanigan the last to leave in 1992.
Barbour is survived by his wife, Nancy Sue; three children; and four grandchildren.