James Barker, 83, Warren

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James Rhodes Barker, 83, of Warren, died suddenly at home on Wednesday, March 20, 2013.  He leaves his wife of 55 years, Elizabeth (Bevan) and two sons, Robert of Seekonk, MA and John and his wife Sarah (Lundin) of Warren; and two granddaughters, Lily and Julia.

Born August 13, 1929 in Taunton, MA to Anson and Millicent Ringsdorf Barker, Jim, along with his late brother Charles, grew up living at The Storm King School in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY, where their father was headmaster.  They spent summers in Peters Point (Assonet) and Mattapoisett, MA developing a great love of sailing and being active on the water.

After graduation from The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, Jim entered Amherst College in 1947 following in the footsteps of his father and brother.  His time in college was interrupted by the Korean War and he spent two years in the Marine Corps before returning to Amherst, graduating in 1953.

After Amherst, Jim worked for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution aboard its research vessel Atlantis, traveling the Atlantic from the Azores to ports in Africa and South America.  While Jim majored in Biology at Amherst, he became an Engineer and spent 36 years at Metals and Controls/Texas Instruments in Attleboro, MA, retiring in 1990.

From 1961 through his retirement, Seekonk, MA was home to Jim and his family.  He was active in the community, serving on the town's Charter Commission, as a Representative Town Meeting member, and as the treasurer of the Seekonk Land Conservation Trust from 1967 to 1993 when he and Elizabeth moved to Beverly Hills, FL. They returned to New England in 2007, taking up residence in Warren to be near their sons and grandchildren.

Jim's love of boats was encouraged by his grandfather and father; much of his time as a teen and well into his late twenties was spent sailing and racing in Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound.  While he owned many boats over the years, the Herreshoff 12-1/2 footer was always his abiding love.  He taught both his sons to sail in the beloved Natrix.  He was a longtime member of the Bristol Yacht Club serving as Club Secretary during the 1960s/70s.

Donations in his name to the Herreshoff Marine Museum in support of the David MacLeod Grose Junior Sailing Program would have pleased him.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.