November 11, 1944 - January 10, 2016
"Never Give Up, Always Give Back"
Born to Margaret and Robert Barber of Berkeley, CA in 1944, Jim grew up in the East Bay neighborhood of San Lorenzo. He graduated from San Lorenzo High School in 1962 and continued his education at the University of California Santa Barbara where he majored in Mathematics, graduating in 1967. Jim met his wife, Cheryl Kent, at UC Santa Barbara and they married in 1967. Jim played football on the 1965 Camellia Bowl Team and later received the "Player's Player" award from his teammates. The team was inducted into the Gaucho Hall of Fame in 2005.
Jim was Outstanding Cadet and Cadet Commander in the UC Santa Barbara ROTC Brigade and after graduation was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Jim and Cheryl spent two years stationed in Germany where their first child was born. After attaining the rank of Captain, he received orders to Vietnam for a one year tour. During that time, his wife returned home to San Lorenzo where their second child was born.
Jim attended UC Hastings College of the Law where he became Articles Editor of the Hastings Law Journal and graduated Order of the Coif and a member of the Thurston Society in 1973. He was an attorney and partner at Hancock, Rothert and Bunshoft in San Francisco for 30 years. He litigated securities fraud, aerospace and products liability, and international insurance matters for many clients, most notably, Lloyds of London. Jim retired in 2005.
Within a year of retirement, Jim was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. During his nearly decade long battle with this disease, Jim became an instrumental voice in the ALS community. He helped found the California ALS Advocacy Committee, whose work resulted in the passage of two bills that help fund research and recognize the highest standard of care for ALS patients. The local ALS community recognized Jim for his work when he was awarded the Iron Horse Award in 2010 and nationally when he was awarded the Heroes Living with ALS Award in 2011. A major outcome of Jim's work was the formation of the California ALS Research Network, which held its 6th Annual Summit on the weekend he passed away.
A UCSB Gaucho through and through, Jim was a member of the Board of Directors of the UCSB Alumni Association 2003-2008, a founding member and 1st President of the Gaucho Athletics Association, and in 2008 was awarded the Graver Alumni Service Award for being instrumental in the creation of the All Gaucho Reunion event.
For their many years of bleeding blue and gold, Jim and Cheryl were both honored in 2013 with the unveiling of the "Jim and Cheryl Barber Academic and Student Success Center" located in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on the UC Santa Barbara campus. The Iron Gaucho Living Scholar Fund is now in his name, notably titled after the "Iron Horse" himself, Lou Gehrig.
Family life was very important to Jim. He enjoyed being in their company and imparting his knowledge and the importance of education to his granddaughters. His parting words were always "take care of each other." In addition, he enjoyed all things Yosemite, flying airplanes, riding Harleys and playing golf.
Jim passed away peacefully at John Muir Medical Center on January 10, 2016 of respiratory failure due to ALS. He was surrounded by his immediate family - his loving wife by his side and his devoted children present. Jim is survived by Cheryl of Walnut Creek, his daughter Sandra and her husband Gary, and granddaughters Krysia and Jessica of Santa Barbara, his son David and his wife Monica, and granddaughter Anabella of Redondo Beach, his brother Michael and his wife Nui, and her daughter Jane of Santa Barbara, and his mother Margaret of Walnut Creek. He is preceded in death by his father, Robert.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, February 13th 2016, at 1:00 p.m. at Hillcrest Congregational Church, 404 Gregory Lane, Pleasant Hill, CA.
Donations in Jim's memory can be made to the ALS Association Golden West Chapter at www.jimbarbertribute.org or the Jim Barber Living Scholar-Iron Gaucho Fund at www.ucsbgauchos.com.