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Barbara Dowds Gunn

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Barbara Dowds Gunn In Memoriam
Barbara (Dowds) Gunn


Math Whiz, teacher, editor, engineer (almost), and self-made business entrepreneur Barbara Dowds was a woman of many talents. After declining an MIT scholarship and graduating from Ohio State, Barbara headed west to California where she and her husband Jim bought land in what later became Pt. Reyes National Seashore and raised their daughter in a custom home they built themselves from low-maintenance local building materials. Fifty years later, the house still stands.

Barbara's SeaShore Bicycles (the only woman-owned and operated bicycle shop west of the Mississippi) rented bicycles to Park visitors and later expanded to include bicycle repair and refurbishment. In the 80s, Barbara moved to San Francisco, started a statewide property management business, & became an executive job coach. Easing into retirement, Barbara enjoyed helping the S.F. History Association, adventuring with the Golden Gate Tip Toppers, volunteering as crew for boat races in the bay, & ocean cruising around the world. Barbara's last 5 years brought the onset of standard dementia, which she handled with as much grace as possible before dying soon after a surprise pancreatic cancer diagnosis. Thru it all, Barbara never lost her enthusiasm for life, independent & adventurous spirit, or infectious smile.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Aug. 12, 2018
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