Thursday, November 6

RIP Barry E. Wright – 1951 to 2008

Barry in the Oregon Food Bank Warehouse

My friend Barry passed away on Wednesday October 29, 2008 after he had gone to bed. Earlier that night was the last time he would tour the Internet discussion forums that we shared. Barry was 57 years old.

Here is how Barry described himself on his profile page:

I live in Portland, Oregon, USA. My profession is healthcare, currently with Providence Portland MC. Volunteer activities include the Oregon Food Bank, the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon an various Providence-sponsored events.

I'm a member of the Pacific Green Party and the ACLU and am active with the Portland Peace and Justice Works and the Portland Alliance newspaper.

My direct political activity is local as I believe we can make the most difference from the ground up. This includes city and county candidates and ballot proposals. If the Greens nominate Nader for President, though, I'm ready to rock'n'roll on a national level.

Other interests include horse riding, camping, reading, international e-mail correspondence, cooking the sorts of Italian-American food you won't find in Oregon, and my cats, Fuzz, Furzilla and Snowball...

Many people on various discussion boards were surprised to hear of his age. Barry's voice was young and energetic so I can see how some would imagine him to be in his thirties. I am so broken up by this loss. I only knew him through the magic of the World Wide Web. For four years we exchanged political critique and commentary, grass roots strategies, health care concerns, love of cats, and laughter.

These two recent posts make his loss even more bitter sweet:

As I watch the healthcare field abandon its ideals and become just another corporate entity I look forward to retirement with an intensity I'd never expected. Sept 1/08

Enjoy your Thanksgiving! It's my favorite holiday here in the U.S. for personal reasons, which is another cause for me wishing you good cheer.Oct. 10/08)

Barry always described his Thanksgiving blow out meals in detail. He loved eating and drinking well, and entertaining his friends.

He was also a very committed health care worker who never failed to tell us Canadians how much in awe he was of our universal health care system. I’m so sorry my friend died before he could enjoy his favourite holiday, and more importantly, his much-deserved retirement.

More pictures of Barry:

Barry loved life and gave so much to his community. His political insights were sharp and guided by a thirst for social justice. He was kind, generous and funny. One of the best people I ever met on an on-line community. I will miss him so much.


At 8:18 p.m., Blogger the regina mom said...

Oh, Beijing! What a beautiful tribute to a good soul! So sorry to hear of your loss -- of our loss. Good people like that make the whole world a better place.


At 10:45 p.m., Anonymous Toe said...

A beautiful summation Beijing. He sounds like just a great guy. I'm so sorry for your loss.

At 5:00 a.m., Blogger skdadl said...

What a wonderful tribute to your friend Barry, Beijing. Our online friends can become such an important part of our lives, and I'm so sorry for your loss.

At 1:31 p.m., Anonymous deBeauxOs said...

sparqui, your friend Barry sounds like someone I would have liked and appreciated as a friend too. I am so sorry that he died; the world has lost a caring and generous man.

At 6:34 p.m., Blogger Beijing York said...

Thanks for your kind comments. He really was a very committed and generous person. I am happy to learn that his rescue companions have found a new home together. That's a relief.

skdadl, thanks again for the suggestion. I feel better as do my internet friends who were part of Barry's community. It feels like we gave him proper public tribute given that we were a private forum.

A few of these friends are making their way to Portland to attend his memorial service. Some are as far flung as NY. I think its amazing how close people can become through this technology.

At 9:01 p.m., Blogger Simon said...

Hi Beijing...what a nice tribute. And how sad. He seemed like a really sweet guy...and so suddenly and so soon.I'm sorry....

At 10:05 p.m., Blogger Beijing York said...

Thanks Simon. Quite a few of us were blindsided by it all... no idea that he was in poor health, let alone on medical leave. He wasn't one to worry others.

At 12:27 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew Barry as the closest thing to a friend I had here in Portland. Several times, he helped me by picking things up with his car and once helped me make a mass buy of canned food at a store. As a disabled person, I very much appreciated his help. We never hung out togther, but we spoke by phone most months. We shared some online discussion sites and progressive political concerns. He was a person of principle and a true progressive. As one who cared for others and the world in which he lived, he did not waste his life. Long time passing. - Dan Raphael

At 3:36 p.m., Blogger Beijing York said...

Dan, I'm so sorry for your loss. He truly was a man of his words and touched many lives with his compassion and generosity.

At 12:32 a.m., Blogger Jack Wells said...

My mom was college friends with Barry, and I had the joy of horse camping with Barry on two lovely occasions and enjoying his FABULOUS cooking skills on more than one as I grew up. That man could *cook*. He enjoyed his wine, maybe a little too much in the end, and it is because of him that anytime anyone asks me what time it is, I find myself automatically quoting Barry: "Time for a drink!"

At 1:32 a.m., Blogger Beijing York said...

Hi Jack,

I'm glad you found this tribute to an old family friend.

Barry always mentioned how Thanksgiving was his favourite holiday and I'm sure it was about the food. He also shared many of his favourite recipes, predominantly Italian.

He was very involved with his local community including the feral cat rescue program. I made a donation in Barry's name and they were so very kind in letting me know how much they valued his commitment and hard work.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and memories of Barry.


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