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Our father, GrandJack, Great-GrandJack, John “Jack” Willard Barry, 87, slipped away in the early hours of November 15, 2021, at home in Davis, California. He fought for sixteen-years with Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia-a rare blood disease, which was in remission at the time of his death. However, his body was tired after living a life of extensive interests and a passion for knowledge.
Jack arrived on July 18, 1934, in Columbus, Ohio to George and Sylvia Barry. He learned how to save money after growing up with parents who lived through the great depression. In 1947 when his mother saved enough money his family packed their ‘46 Chevrolet and headed across country stopping at historical sites before visiting Yellowstone National Park. Through ROTC he attended the University of Cincinnati graduating in Botany. During college summers he worked in Yellowstone Park (’53-’56) climbing the ranks to become a Park Ranger. While working there he met Patricia Arends, they married late 1956 and headed straight to Williamsburg, Virginia, where he reported to duty as an officer in the army. In Williamsburg their daughter Cynthia was born in 1959. When she was six months old, they visited Yellowstone, and left the park right before the big earthquake of ’59.
Their second child Sandee was born at the army base in Dugway, Utah in 1961. There our parents made lifelong friends. After three years living in the dry desert our mother was thrilled when we moved to Salt Lake City when the army transferred Jack to Fort Douglas. In Salt Lake our father taught us how to ski, rock hunt, and to appreciate the Rocky Mountains. When he bought a rustic cabin near West Yellowstone, Montana, he taught us the value of hard work and rewarded us with horseback riding at the Diamond P Ranch.
Growing up we took many trips to the Southwest visiting historical sites and Pueblos. Once at Santa Clara Pueblo, Jack jumped out of the car, knowing it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and introduced himself to the great Maria Martinez (famous for her black pottery). Another time he was the only Anglo at a traditional pueblo wedding.
In 1975 we moved to Davis, California. His knowledge for pueblo pottery florished, and in 1980 his book American Indian Pottery was published. Our parents divorced in 1985. Fortunately, he found Valerie Turner, they were a perfect fit, and married in 1987 on the rim of the Grand Canyon then backpacked with friends and family to the archeological site, Keet Seel cliff dwellings. For twenty years he enthusiastically led tours through Southwestern historical sites and Pueblos sharing his passion for Native American cultures. In retirement he and Valerie made 2-3 trips a year to New Mexico and Arizona. For over forty years he influenced the success of talented native and non-native artists encouraging their talents connecting them to collectors and galleries.
Our father worked for the US Army and Forest Service from 1956-1997 (in Ft. Douglas, UT 1965-1973) as an aerial application specialist to save forests, including forests in Montana, from invasive species. He earned the highest US Dept of Agriculture award for excellence in technology management and was profiled in Who’s Who in the West.
Between work and travel his enthusiasm for: furniture restoration, collecting, reading history, photography, gardening, and journaling about his travels and the people he met, including visiting family and fly fishing in Montana in July, never faded. Partly because of his family’s road trip to Yellowstone in 1947, ten of his descendants now live in Bozeman, Montana.
We appreciate the love and care Valerie gave him for 34 years. He was preceded in death by his granddaughter Storey Anne Mills in 2006, and survived by children, Cindy Wilkinson (Pete), Sandee Barry Mills (John); grandchildren, Hayden Mills, Meredith Johnson (Nate), Zackary and Taylor Wilkinson, great-grandchildren Mabel, Hadley, and Eloise all of Bozeman, MT; Grandchild Thaddeus Wilkinson of CA; His stepchildren, Sara White, Carrie Pitkin (Richard); step-grandchildren Morgan, Lillian, Caralena, Savannah, and Stephanie of CA. Memorials in Jack’s name may be sent to www.iWMF.com or www.EagleMount.org (Bozeman). A memorial will be held later in the spring.
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