Barker, Robert Hatton Jr.
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48, of Newport, Rhode Island and La Jolla, California, formerly of Phoenix, died Thursday, April 5, 2012. Bob was the devoted husband of Catherine Morton Barker and loving father of Brendan and Amanda. Bob was a much beloved son and brother, trusted friend, inspirational leader, mentor, and philanthropist. Bob was born in Chicago, Illinois the son of Nina Feggestad Barker of Phoenix, Arizona and Highland Park, Illinois and the late Robert H. Barker, Sr. Bob was a 1981 graduate of Lake Forest High School, Lake Forest, Illinois, where he excelled in football, wrestling and track. Bob graduated in 1985 with a BS in Real Estate from Arizona State University. He served as president of his Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity and was active in many student organizations. Shortly after graduating Bob went to work for a then little known for-profit college called University of Phoenix. In his 20 years with the company Bob earned his MBA and helped the University of Phoenix grow to become the largest private university in the world. Before retiring Bob had risen to the role of Senior Vice President for the Apollo Group, the holding company for University of Phoenix. In this role he oversaw the day-to-day operations of all University of Phoenix campuses throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Bob was known for his unshakable ethics, his visionary leadership and, most importantly, his kindness. After a successful career with University of Phoenix, Bob retired and set out to build his own company. He founded Barker Educational Services Team (BEST) with the intent of helping small colleges and universities launch successful online degree programs. Bob grew his company to over 40 employees that serve colleges throughout the United States. Bob was a very special and caring person who mentored and encouraged so many people. He was very devoted to his family and friends. One of Bob's final posts on Facebook was a summation of his attitude throughout his life, "Great day to all! Live it and love it." Bob is also survived by his loving family: his sisters Heidi and Tracy and his brother and best friend, Paul Barker who resides in Phoenix. Bob was preceded in death by his older brother Eric Matthew Barker and his father, Robert H. Barker, Sr. We ask Bob's friends and colleagues to share their memories and stories of Bob / Rob on the Robert H. Barker Memorial Website. Funeral services were held on April 10th in Newport, Rhode Island. Donations in Bob's memory may be made to the Boston University Medical Center Amyloidosis Treatment and Research Program at www.bu.edu/amyloid.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Apr. 22, 2012