Dr. W. Boyd Barrick II
Dr. W. Boyd Barrick II

You heard the sound of his wooden clogs in the hallways of your high school or college. After a long summer, you enjoyed the tomatoes and spaghetti sauce he shared with fellow teachers and neighbors. You saw him mouthing the words and conducting in his seat during a Gilbert and Sullivan production at the Alberta Bair. Unexpectedly, he drew you into a conversation about the umbrella guy in "His Girl Friday," George Burns' portrayal of God, Jack Benny, British history, the Bible or the 1960s Second City sketch "The Metaphysics Lecture."

Dr. W. Boyd Barrick II, 63, passed away in the early hours of Monday, May 18, 2009, surrounded by his family.

Boyd was born Feb. 1 (almost a groundhog), 1946, in Rockford, Ill., to William and Elizabeth Barrick.

Academia and the sharing of knowledge was a lifelong passion. From his 1964 graduation from Auburn High School, he went on to receive his AB from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., in 1968.

Theater was another strength and love of his. In a 1967 summer production of "Finnian's Rainbow" in Rockford, he played the male lead and met his future wife, Virginia (Ginni or Ginn) Anderson, who was the female lead. During a performance where their parents were in attendance, he surreptitiously worked a pro-posal into the dialogue. She said yes. They were later married on June 29, 1968, her parents' 33rd wedding anniversary.

He took the road less traveled when he chose to pursue his interest in Religious Studies, specifically the Old Testament. In 1970, he was awarded a Fulbright fellowship and traveled to Sweden, attending Uppsala Uni-versitet for a year. Returning to the States, he earned his MA and PhD in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago in 1977.

That same year, Boyd and Ginni had their first big move to Cleveland, where he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University. A year later, they moved to the small town of Ada, the home of Ohio Northern University and was an Assistant Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion. In 1979, their daughter, Kristin Anderson Barrick, was born, followed in 1983 by their son, William Andrew Barrick.

The family moved to the green mountains of Rutland, Vt., in 1984, when Boyd became Associate Academic Dean of Castleton State College. He continued to teach and became interested in the history of the college, writing "Vermont's First College: A chronicle of the first one hundred years of Castleton State College, 1787-1887."

His interest in history was not limited to Vermont. Boyd studied and collected memorabilia from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, where his grandfather had worked as a guard and guide. He prized his family's partici-pation in American history including four ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War.

Green mountains became Rocky Mountains in 1987 as the family moved to Billings, where he became the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at Eastern Montana State College. Fellow professors and their chil-dren became a second family to the Barricks, becoming especially close with Dr. St. John Robinson and his family. This friendship lasted far past his time as Dean.

Semi-retired, Boyd continued to teach, write and publish dozens of articles and several books within the Biblical Literature community including "The King and the Cemeteries: Towards a New Understanding of Josiah's Reform."

Amongst his lengthy academic achievements, the massive Gilbert and Sullivan fan also cherished the mo-ment he was able to say "Well, hardly ever" during a serious college meeting.

He was a teacher to everyone he met, generous and eager to share his knowledge of serious academic sub-jects as well as his wit and wealth of information about hundreds of topics including 1940s character actors, classic comedians and cooking. The Crow Fair, Summerfair, Shakespeare in the Park, Symphony in the Park and the Farmer's Market were some of his favorite Billings events. He would share his experiences with his children when they moved away for college.

The lifelong teacher also continued to learn. Following a health scare, he worked with his family and be-came a better father, better husband and better man.

As a favor for college friend David Stedman, he packed the house as he gave the final lecture to a Bible class at a Philadelphia church. Stedman recently recalled, "His was a masterful presentation using examples from Joshua and Judges to remind us that 'the story is the message.' This put everything in proper perspective. What a teacher!"

The story IS the message and Boyd Barrick's was one of a kind. He was greatly loved and will be sorely missed.

Preceded in death by his parents William Henry and Elizabeth Jane Norton Barrick; his grandparents, W. Boyd Barrick and Georgia Bishop Barrick, Wayne Leslie and Hazel Boomer Norton; father and mother-in-law Willard P. and Myrtle Anderson and brother-in-law John D. Carlin, husband of Nancy.

Survived by his wife of 40 years, Ginni of Billings; daughter Kristin Anderson Barrick of Chicago; son W. Andrew Barrick of Billings; sister Nancy Carlin and niece Sarah; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Paul and Mary Nilsen of Northbrook, Ill.; nephew and niece-in-law Peter and Julie Nilsen and their children Caleb and Elly of Palatine, Ill.; niece and nephew-in-law Julie and Peter Johnson and their children Seth and Luke also of Palatine; brother-in-law and sister-in-law Tom and Doris Anderson of Cupertino, Calif. His memory will also be cherished by Dr. St John and Julie Robinson of Billings; their children Paul of Boulder, Colo., John and Julian also of Billings; friends Angie Okragly and her "girls" of Billings.

A private family burial will be held on the Barrick plot in Rockford at a later date. The Barrick family would like to thank Kathleen, Carol, all the ICU nurses and Dr. Scott Sample of the Billings Clinic for their kind and compassionate care. Condolences may be sent to the Barrick family by visiting www.BillingsGazette.net/obituaries. Memorials in Boyd's name may be made to Yellowstone Public Radio or to the Billings Rescue Mission.

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