Barry Rigby ~ Class of 1961
Departed ~ 7/20/2020
Leilani Rigby lovingly wrote:
Thank you for responding to my message about Barry’s death. I apologize for my slow response. And thank you for your efforts in assembling a tribute page – what wonderful old photos.
I will attach a few photos, not that you need to post them but I always want to share Barry’s wonderful life. One shows him with an ISB buddy building a raft to use on the Kwai River. One shows him with Afghan elders at a refugee camp in Pakistan. One shows him building our deck. And one just shows his beautiful face.
There was not a published obituary, but here is a short version of the eulogy I prepared.
Five years as an army officer showed Barry that he enjoyed leadership positions, that he was an effective listener and counsellor, and that he no longer wanted an army career. So he got a degree in social work.
He worked with an international social work organization in New York City for six years, then joined the UN refugee program (UNHCR), where he worked for 20 years in many challenging locations and programs. He was posted in Switzerland (HQ), southern Sudan, Pakistan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Turkey, and Bosnia, He organized effective programs under difficult circumstances, aided by talented and helpful staff. He took early retirement in 2000 because he knew he had Parkinson’s and wanted to have some quality time living in upstate New York doing the other things he loved.
Barry was always active and eager for a challenge, often with his old ISB buddies, building on the escapades and adventures they’d in high school He loved working with his hands and built a lovely – if quirky – house for his family in Jefferson, NY. In retirement he achieved his life-long fantasies of country living, hard work, lots of boys toys, and fresh air.
He continued to have worsening health problems. In 2010 he had a terrible bicycle accident, breaking 12 bones, then a long rehab. He was then diagnosed with a rare genetic form of emphysema. This left him increasingly short of breath, eventually and requiring oxygen. Added to these were a myriad of less major ailments and health challenges. Yet he never gave up or stopped taking on new projects. He had a life-long love of hard work and staying active, which is probably what enabled him to live to age 77 despite his deteriorating body. He died outdoors on a beautiful day, doing work he loved. An autopsy concluded he’d had a heart attack, probably due to an enlarged heart. Yes, he had a very big heart. His life was one of value, well lived.
He is survived by his wife Leilani, two daughters, Fiona and Metasabia, and three grandchildren.
From: Leilani Rigby
Sent: Wed, Feb 22, 2023 9:13 pm
Subject: Barry Rigby, Class of ’61
I opened Barry’s email account for the first time today. I see that
you have been sending messages to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am
Barry’s wife and I’m very sorry to have to tell you that he died on
20 July 2020. His years at ISB provided him with a lot of wonderful
memories and our family with a lot of wonderful stories.
Please send pictures (old and new), anecdotes, articles, stories, and tributes to isbeings at gmail dot com or visit us on Facebook at ISBeings