Barbara Enberg was sports broadcasting legend Dick Enberg’s second wife, and she was at his side for almost 25 years, decorating their home together, vacationing in France, and building a family.
Dick Enberg died on December 21, 2017 at the age of 82, according to ESPN and many other news reports.
How did Enberg die? Although the official cause of death had not yet been released as news of Enberg’s death broke in the early morning hours of December 22, 2017, his family members told ESPN that they suspect he died of a heart attack. Barbara Enberg, his second wife, spoke to the news media after his death.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Enberg Died With His Bags Packed, Family Members Say
Enberg died at his San Diego, California-area home with his bags packed for a trip out east, according to ESPN. Confirmation came from two corners: His wife, Barbara, and his daughter, Nicole, both of whom spoke to the news media about Dick Enberg’s death.
“Enberg’s daughter, Nicole, said the family became concerned when he didn’t arrive on his flight to Boston on Thursday, and that he was found dead at his home in La Jolla, a San Diego neighborhood, with his bags packed. The family said it believes he had a heart attack, but is awaiting official word,” ESPN reported.
Bryce Miller, a sports columnist with the San Diego Union Tribune, wrote on Twitter, “Incredibly sad news: Dick Enberg’s wife Barbara just told me Dick died his morning in LaJolla. Thinks it was a heart attack. Such a legend. Such a gentleman. There are no words.”
2. Barbara Enberg Is an Interior Designer Who Filled The Family Home With French Antiques
In 2016, Ranch & Coast magazine featured Barbara and Dick Enberg’s La Jolla home, the residence where he was found dead, describing how Barbara, an interior decorator, had filled it with furniture she found in France. Barbara was Enberg’s second wife; they married in 1983.
The article described how the home’s door came from the south of France and even bore a bullet from World War I. “The entry doors are just one of the architectural treasures that Barbara, a talented interior designer (she has helmed BE Designs since 2004), researched and brought back after ‘scouting’ trips to France, when the couple began building their Mediterranean-style home,” the feature story reported.
Enberg’s voice was famous and generations of sports fans grew up listening to it. According to Deadspin, “Enberg retired last year from a six-decade career that included announcing everything from the NFL and Olympics and MLB to tennis and boxing and golf. Beginning in 1975, he spent 25 years at NBC Sports, where he served as the lead play-by-play voice for both the network’s NFL and MLB coverage.”
3. Barbara Expressed Her Shock Over Her Husband’s Sudden Death & Engages in Charity Work
The Associated Press also reported that Enberg’s daughter, Nicole, had confirmed his death. “I’m still in shock,” Barbara Enberg, Dick Enberg’s wife, told the San Diego Union-Tribune of her husband’s sudden death. Although he was in advanced age, Enberg was not known to be in bad health.
According to Ranch & Coast, Barbara “has served on the board of the La Jolla Music Society for the past six years” and enjoys cycling. The article describes how the Enbergs enjoyed visiting restaurants and other establishments in La Jolla, as well as vacationing in rented homes throughout France.
Dick Enberg’s career spanned different sports genres. “Enberg defined versatility as a broadcaster, covering 28 Wimbledon tennis tournaments, 10 Super Bowls and eight NCAA basketball title games as the play-by-play voice of the UCLA Bruins during its dynasty-building run. His last full-time job was as the TV voice of the Padres,” reported the Union-Tribune.
4. Enberg Was Married Once Before For a Decade
Barbara was Dick Enberg’s second wife. His first wife was named Jeri Taylor, and he married her in 1959, but the couple divorced several years later. Ten years after that, he married Barbara.
In his book, Dick Enberg: Oh My!, Enberg described meeting Jeri when she was a broadcasting student who looked like Audrey Hepburn.
He described in the book how Jeri had blurted out that she didn’t love him anymore. It was 1973, and their youngest son, Alex, was just a toddler. He described how his heavy work scheduled had negatively affected his first marriage, but he was caught off guard by the demise of their marriage.
In his book, Dick Enberg labeled Barbara “an extraordinary partner” and “a fantastic friend.”
5. Dick Enberg Leaves Behind Six Children & Barbara Met Dick Enberg at NBC
Barbara Enberg once worked at NBC, and that’s where she met her future husband, according to Ranch & Coast. Dick Enberg left behind six children.
Tributes flowed in for Enberg. Many praised his classy demeanor as well as his talent. Wrote one friend on social media, “RIP, Dick Enberg! We loved you! A better friend or more professional and inquisitive man never walked this earth. Lucky to call you my dear buddy!” John Ireland, the radio voice of the Lakers, lauded Enberg, writing, “If there was a Mount Rushmore of LA Sports Announcers, Dick Enberg is on it with Chick Hearn, Vin Scully and Bob Miller. Rams, Angels, UCLA, NBC, and so much more. Was the first famous announcer I ever met, and he couldn’t have been nicer. Definition of a gentleman. RIP.”