Tribute for Michael Barbee

Tribute for Michael Barbee

class of 1967

It should be known that Mike Barbee lived his entire life in the manner that so inspired us all when we knew him years ago. A kind and gentle, yet powerful presence, the memories of his life stand like a beautiful oak tree outstretched over a quiet hillside.

Mike and I married in August of 1968 and later graduated from U.C. Riverside. Moving to N. California, we lived in an idyllic cabin on Fitch Mt. near the Russian River, both of us with teaching jobs not far away. However, after seven years, Mike and I separated and eventually divorced, nineteen turning out to be too young for me to marry… all through this Mike continuing to be the loving, supportive person that he was.

Mike remarried, as did I, and we stayed in touch over the years. Mike and his wonderful wife, Sharon, created a beautiful home which embodies the richness of their lives for their family and others. A recent quote from Cheryl Killman Ford:

"There I was standing in a grocery line, in painting work clothes and my shoulders scrunched up carrying burdens, and I hear, "Cheryl, Cheryl? Is that you?" 20 years of history and there was Michael as if he had just stepped out of the CV yearbook. He had just come from tennis and his stance was as relaxed and yet poised as ever. Sharon and Michael were so gracious over the next 10 years, inviting me to their lovely warm home, fun family and delicious food and wines. Just being included at their table introduced me to a comfort that nourished me far beyond the food."

Continuing to be an example, inspiration, and mentor to others, Mike influenced people's lives on the tennis courts, in his community, as a health educator for children, a writer (his book: Politically Incorrect Nutrition, in which, as John Hagens recently wrote: "Mike wanted to let the world know that some politically correct theories in nutrition, fluoridation for example, cry out for a second look"), and as a photographer and sculptor.

I believe that Mike's compelling presence remains in our memoires of him, and I want to express my gratitude to him for all that he shared with this world.

Peggy Phillips Magilen


Mike's wife, Sharon, has compiled the tributes from other classmates, and asked if I could email them to you upon your request. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Words from the Celebration of Michael's Life

So when you walk the woods where once we walked together

And scan in vain the dappled bank beside you for my shadow,

Or pause where we always did upon the hill to gaze across the land,

And spotting something, reach by habit for my hand,

And finding none, feel sorrow start to steal upon you,

Be still.

Clear your eyes.


Listen for my footfall in your heart.

I am not gone but merely walk within you.

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