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Richards Dale Barger


1928 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Richards Dale Barger Obituary
August 10, 1928 - January 17, 2016 Richards Dale Barger of San Marino, California, passed away peacefully in Pasadena, California, on Sunday, January 17, 2016. He was 87 years old. Dick, as he was widely known, was born in Los Angeles, California on August 10, 1928 to Chester H. Barger and Elizabeth Swartzlander Barger; however, he spent his childhood in Indiana through the Great Depression because that was the only place where his father, a University of Iowa trained lawyer, could find work (he took a job as a salesman and manufacturers' representative). After attending elementary and high school in Indianapolis, he finished his senior year at Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee before matriculating into Indiana University in the fall of 1946. He graduated from IU with a B.S. in Business in 1950 and was very active on campus, including membership in Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. For the rest of his life, he was fiercely loyalty to the Hoosiers and the Delts. Dick graduated from IU and enrolled at the University of Southern California School of Law, finishing his law degree in 1953, but not before he married Ann Fenwick, a beautiful stewardess with United Airlines and former "Miss Oregona." They were married June 24, 1952 in Portland, Oregon, first living in Los Angeles before moving to San Marino, California where they settled and had four children: Richards, James, John, and Kathryn. He passed the bar exam in 1953 and began what was to become a storied career in law and public service. Early on in 1968, as president of the California Junior Bar Association, he caught the eye of Governor Ronald Reagan, who appointed his Insurance Commissioner. While serving as Commissioner, Dick was elected President of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), putting him at the very pinnacle of the United States insurance industry. Although Governor Reagan reappointed him, Dick left the Department of Insurance in 1972 to join private law practice provide for a large family. This marked the beginning of a very successful law practice, culminating with the creation of Barger & Wolen in 1976, when he joined his friend and law partner, Alan Wolen, to form one of the nation's leading insurance and regulatory law boutiques. He remained active until his death. Dick loved mentoring young people. He coached his three sons in Little League, also acting as Scout Master for Troop 355 where each of his sons earned the rank of Eagle Scout (like their father, who himself was an Eagle). Many young men attained the rank of Eagle under his mentorship, including two grandsons. He also introduced young people to public service. His own daughter, Kathryn, Chief Deputy County Supervisor to Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, is running for Los Angeles County Supervisor. The Barger household was a welcome place for old and new friends. The lights were always on for friends and neighbors alike. One visitor, James "Okie" Olkeriil, came home with the Barger sons one college summer and never left after being grafted into the Barger family. He also had a close connection with his college friends and remained active with Delta Tau Delta Fraternity his whole life. In support of the Delts, he acted as president of the USC Delta Pi House Corporation and remained involved in his own Beta Alpha Chapter at Indiana University. He also remained close to the Indiana University family, serving on that University's Board of Trustees and the IU Foundation Board. Dick Barger loved to bring people together to talk, to learn, and to share. A well-known and true connoisseur of great food and wine, he organized many a group or event, including Alsatian, Burgundy, and Bordeaux wine dinners; cigar smokers; dinners to commemorate Los Angeles culture, including the "Don Mateo Keller Dinner," celebrating one of Los Angeles's early pioneers who managed to buy all of Malibu for a pittance; and of course evenings just to celebrate life with good friends. Whenever possible, he would host such events at his favorite venue, the California Club. Through his active leadership in the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin, Dick traveled to France often. He loved French culture so much that he organized dozens of trips to the great wine regions there (Burgundy, Bordeaux, Alsace, the Rhone, the Loire River Valley, Chablis, Champagne, and even Beaujolais). These trips are now a Chevaliers tradition and continue to foster cultural growth and enduring friendships around the world. Richards Dale Barger was pre-deceased in 2002 by Ann Fenwick Barger, his wife of Fifty years, and is survived by his second wife, Mary Jane Boggs; his children, Richards of Pasadena, James Olkeriil of Pasadena, James (Virginia), John (Shauna), Kathryn Leibrich (Eric), all of San Marino; his three grandchildren, James, Christopher and Sophia; and Mary Jane's children, Alex Boggs (Janet), Jonathan Boggs (Marie), and Cynthia Ary (Vincent). The Barger Family would like express their deep gratitude to the staff at Villa Gardens for their compassion and the loving care they provided to Dick in the final years of his special life; also to dear family friend, Johnny Owens, who cared so lovingly for Dick during the final years of his life. A Memorial Service and celebration of Dick Barger's life will be held at 1:00 PM on January 25, 2016 at Church of Our Savior in San Gabriel, with a gathering to follow at the Barger home. In lieu of flowers, those wishing to do so can send contributions in Dick's name to the Indiana University Foundation or the Delta Tau Delta Educational Foundation.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Jan. 22 to Jan. 24, 2016
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