Captain James Alden (Ret.) Barber Jr.

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5/6/1934 - 8/2/2017 Captain Barber was a highly decorated career Naval Officer, serving in the United States Navy for thirty years before his retirement. He then left the Navy to become CEO and Publisher at the influential United States Naval Institute in Annapolis. Born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri to parents James Alden Barber, Sr and Ellamay Morris Barber, the future Naval officer quickly developed a strong intellect and curiosity about the world around him. He excelled at school and was deeply involved in after school activities. The family was soon moved to Missoula, Montana and subsequently to Los Angeles, California, establishing a love of adventure and setting the tone for travel which would become a major part of his life. His career in the Navy was marked by three surface combatant commands, including seeing action in the Vietnam War. Highly respected for his strategic planning and his demonstrated skill as a ship captain led to multiple stints at the Pentagon, earning him some of the military's highest honors including a Bronze Star with a combat V; the Navy's Distinguished Public Service Award; a Meritorious Service Award from the US Coast Guard and the Legion of Merit. A born educator and lecturer, Captain Barber was engaged on multiple occasions to teach courses on a wide range of topics at Vanderbilt University, The Naval Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey California and an extended stint as the occupant of the Stephen B. Luce Chair at the prestigious Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He held four different degrees from USC and Vanderbilt including a Doctorate from Stanford University. Considered to be one of the Navy's premier ship handlers, Captain Barber was asked to write a definitive textbook on Naval ship handling. The resulting work, his fourth book, was published by the Naval Insititute under the title THE NAVAL SHIPHANDLER'S GUIDE. It is considered a must-read for aspiring (and active) Naval Captains. In addition to his love of the Navy, Captain Barber found and married his High School sweetheart, Beverly Kingsbury Barber in Los Angeles, California. Their 61 year marriage was an inspiration to everyone as their clear friendship and affection for each other was easily seen by those around them. Given the hard life the Navy sometimes requires of Navy Families, Beverly managed the home while James carried out his duties. The pride and core of Captain Barber's life was his wife and their three children, Judy, Susan and Steven, his grandchildren Anthony, Thomas, Andrew and William, and his great grandchildren Alden and Alexandra. HIs devotion to family and the Navy were fundamental to Captain Barber's life, and he was deeply respected by any and all who were honored to know him. A funeral service for Captain Barber will be held on Sunday, August 13 at 3 PM at Hardesty Funeral Home, 12 Ridgely Avenue, Annapolis. Interment with full military honors will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Online condolences may be left for the family at

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Hardesty Funeral Home, P.A.
12 Ridgely Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21401
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Published in The Capital Gazette on Aug. 6, 2017
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