James Barker

Obituary of James Robert Barker

James (Jim) Robert Barker was a towering intellectual, an inspirational professor, and a dedicated family man. He nurtured the intellects and souls of his family, friends, and colleagues with tenderness, kindness, and respect. His deep curiosity led him away from the strong foundation of his family home in Arkansas and his family—father James Wassis Barker, mother Ellamae Johnson, and sisters Carolyn (Con), and Linda (Sooner)-- and into US military service and graduate school at Purdue and the University of Colorado Boulder. He used this curiosity to advance knowledge in his professoriate positions at Marquette University, the University of New Mexico Albuquerque, the United States Air Force Academy, the University of Waikato, and Dalhousie University.

Jim had boundless love for his daughters Sara and Felicity. He wanted them to follow whatever path they chose and supported them along the way. Whether they wanted to jump into caves, snorkel in icy waters, learn the music of a new band, or travel to faraway places, he was keen to join the fun or ensure they succeeded on their own. He was a funny, patient, and sweet Dad. He extended his paternal affection to Felicity’s husband Maru Aldan, whom he loved as his own. With Maru and Sarath Sasidharan, whom he also regarded as a son, he explored other sides of himself and them.

As husband to Linda Macdonald, he was kind, loving, and supportive. They were partners in everything. He was her hero. Jim leaves behind his sisters, niece Gena, nephew Jimmy, his daughters, his sons through marriage and friendship, his brother- and sister-in-law Gary Macdonald and Mary Costa, and cousins including Eric Barker and Orlin Barker. He leaves his family in the Department of Leadership and Organizations at Dalhousie and his research companions in Medicine and Management worldwide. He leaves his students and those he mentored. He would want us all to, as he wrote, “move forward in a useful, positive way".

Arrangements and Cremation have been entrusted to J. Albert Walker Funeral Home (2005) Ltd.  In keeping with Jim’s wishes there will be no visitation.  A funeral service will take place at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax at 10 a.m. on December 14, 2023.