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Marian J. Barber

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Marian J. Barber Obituary
Barber, Marian J.

Marian J. Barber, (nee Jones), former New Mexico newspaper publisher/owner of the Grants (NM) Daily Beacon and a member of the New Mexico Press Association (NMPA) Hall of Fame died January 8th in Mansfield, Texas.

Mrs. Barber, 93, formerly of Grants, NM, a was a native New Mexican. She was born in Ft. Stanton, NM, in 1922 in the house once occupied by General John "Blackjack" Pershing. In 1964, she married James B. Barber and moved to Grants, where he published the Beacon. She went to work in the advertising department where she received several newspaper awards.

Mr. Barber had a sterling journalistic reputation and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in the early 1960s. He was also inducted into the NMPA Hall of Fame. He also owned radio station KMIN. After his death in 1971, Mrs. Barber took over the reins of the businesses and faced head-on the challenges of working in an industry that was predominantly male in a small New Mexico town that was on the brink of a uranium mining boom.

She worked tirelessly for her community and the newspaper industry in New Mexico. She was a moving force and active lobbyist for projects that benefited her city and county. She was in the forefront of the designation of the El Malpais National Monument in Grants in 1987, and assisted in the creation of Cibola County in 1981, the state's first new county since Los Alamos County was created in 1943. She also instituted and judged the Grants Spelling Bee for county competitions yearly.

However, her pride and joy was the New Mexico Mining Museum in Grants. She was the inspiration for the one-of-a-kind replica of a working uranium mine, showcasing the industry and the people who kept the community alive. She spent endless hours supporting the mining industry, the community's chief economic engine.

Over the years, Mrs. Barber was named Woman of the Year by the Association of University Women, Outstanding Woman in Business by the NMSU-Grants Branch College and the Greater Grants Chamber of Commerce named her Outstanding Woman of the Year. She served as president of the NMPA and, in 1988, was inducted into the Association's Hall of Fame.

Mrs. Barber is survived by four children: Rebecca Barber-Trefren and her husband, John, of Las Cruces. NM, Sandra Hearnsberger and her husband, Ed, of Arlington, TX, Col. Roy Wayne Erwin (Ret) and his wife, Jeanine, of San Antonio, TX, and step-daughter Cynthia Spidle, and her husband, Gene, of Grants, NM. She is also survived by nine grandchildren and 28 great grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers the family requests contributions be made to the New Mexico Mining Museum at Grants, 100 Iron St., Grants, NM 87020.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Jan. 17, 2016
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