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Elinor Barker Nootbaar

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Elinor Barker Nootbaar Obituary
Nootbaar, Elinor Barker
June 1, 1923 - March 27, 2011
Martha Elinor White Barker Nootbaar was born in Duke, Oklahoma, on June 1, 1923. She was one of four children: one boy and three girls. Picking cotton and digging peanuts were her earliest chores on the family farm, but by age 12, Elinor began honing her business skills at her aunt's insurance agency.
The Dust Bowl of 1934 brought the family to Portales, New Mexico, where Elinor attended Portales High School. Her engaging personality and sweet countenance were affirmed by classmates who voted her "the most popular girl in school." She also possessed a keen intellect that matched her bright smile and soon was named captain of the debate team and ultimately, valedictorian of her class. She enrolled at Eastern New Mexico University, funding her college tuition by working as secretary to the university president.
She met her first husband, Guy Barker, in high school. They married in 1942 and moved to California, eventually settling in the San Gabriel Valley. Elinor's only child, Gary, was born in 1945. The family moved back to Portales and then returned to Alhambra, California. Guy Barker passed away in 1974.
Years earlier, in 1951, Elinor applied for a job at H. V. Nootbaar and Company. Seeking the position of "traffic manager"-which directed the company's global shipping-Elinor endured a two-hour interview with founder Herb Nootbaar and his partner. Once hired, she applied her business acumen, work ethic, and leadership skills and was promoted to office manager and eventually to vice president. She served the company for nearly six decades until she and Herb decided to liquidate it in 2010.
Herb's first wife, Dorothy, lost an eight-year battle with cancer. Surely the Lord had a hand in the destiny of Herbert Nootbaar and Elinor Barker, who married in 1983 and moved to Laguna Beach. Together as partners in business and in life, they shared a beautiful 27-year marriage, traveling together to 126 countries; united in their commitment to community service and philanthropy. They embodied a precious love that was an example for us all. For Elinor, her greatest and most joyful assignment was to be completely in charge of Herb's happiness.
Elinor partnered with Herb as he assumed leadership responsibilities with business and civic groups: National Grain & Feed Assn., the Tournament of Roses, Pasadena Presbyterian Church, LA Chamber of Commerce, LA Grain Exchange, the Pasadena Rotary Club, USC Associates, and South Coast Medical Center. Elinor enjoyed her affiliation with the Women's Golf Assn. at El Niguel Country Club. Together, they supported 32 organizations, including the California Community Foundation, Union Rescue Mission, Boy Scouts of America, USC, the Reagan Library, and the Pepperdine University School of Law, where they endowed the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics and the office of the dean.
Elinor Nootbaar passed from this life into God's eternal kingdom on Sunday, March 27, 2011. She leaves behind her beloved husband, Herb; a sister, Peggy; one son, Gary; and two of Herb's children, John and Joanne. Elinor was dearly loved by her 11 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. Elinor's memorial service will be held on Friday, April 8 at 11 a.m. at the Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church, followed by a luncheon at the El Niguel Country Club. In lieu of flowers, Mr. Nootbaar requests that donations support one of Elinor's favorite organizations: New Mexico Christian Children's Home, Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church, or Mission Hospital of Laguna Beach.

Published in the Los Angeles Times from Apr. 5 to Apr. 6, 2011
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