Jan 3, 1924 – Dec 20, 2017
Our family is sad to announce the death of Harold Barton Barclay on December 20, 2017, fourteen days before his 94th birthday.
He is survived by his wife Jane (Vernon, BC), son Alan (Federal Way, WA), daughter Alison (Halifax, NS) and his sister Frances Oxton (Silverdale, WA) and his nieces and nephews.
Harold was born in Newton, Massachusetts to Mabel B. and Harold G. Barclay. He spent much of his young life working and living on his grandfather’s farm in a Boston suburb. These happy experiences sparked an academic interest in agriculture and in 1943 Harold received a diploma in animal husbandry from Stockbridge School of Agriculture in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Always a peace activist, Harold was a conscientious objector in World War ll and spent two years in so-called Civilian Public Service, mostly in forestry service in Oregon. Following the war he had various jobs – as lumberyard worker, Safeway clerk, restaurant busboy, farm and ranch hand, as well as a short period as a rural school teacher in Wyoming, where he became an experienced horseback rider.
On reading Ruth Benedict’s Patterns of Culture he was “converted” to anthropology and pursued that field at Boston University receiving a BA cum laude in 1952. On August 26,1953 he married fellow student, Jane E. Lepore, and a week later they went off to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where he received an MA (1954) and PhD (1961) in Anthropology.
In 1956, Harold and Jane travelled to Egypt, where Harold assumed his first teaching position at the American University in Cairo. Soon after their arrival the “Suez War” broke out – one of many adventures during their time in North Africa. While at AUC, Harold did some field work in an Egyptian village and, from 1959-1960, conducted an ethnographic investigation of a village near Khartoum, Sudan for his doctoral dissertation.
Following his stay in the Middle East Harold taught at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois (1960-1963) and at the University of Oregon (1963-1966), and held visiting positions at the University of Texas and the University of California, Berkeley. In 1966 Harold accepted a position in the newly formed Department of Anthropology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton where he was an active member of the department until his retirement in 1989, as Professor Emeritus.
In 1997, Harold and Jane moved to more climate-friendly Vernon, BC where Harold was involved with the Unitarian fellowship, the Advisory Committee of Okanagan University College, and various discussion groups, including SOLD and the Palestinian Study Group.
Harold was an active scholar throughout his career and long into his retirement, producing eight books and many articles, and giving public lectures on his research and travel experiences.
When not reading, writing or listening to Mahler or Schubert, Harold spent his time riding his beloved horse Coral, walking country trails (Kalamalka Park with its view of the lake was a favourite destination), and vegetable gardening.
The family would like to thank Drs. Bester and Pienaar , the staff at Polson Place for their care and kindness to Harold and special thanks to Susan and Cynthia for five long years of support.
Cremation has taken place. There will be a gathering in Harold’s memory in Vernon in late May (TBA in April).
Anyone wishing to make donations in Harold’s name is asked to consider the Canadian Friends Service Committee, Ottawa, ON. or Doctors Without Borders.
Condolences may be offered at www.vernonfuneralhome.com.
Please leave your contact information if you wish to receive notification of the May event.
Vernon Funeral Home