SOAR was honored to award Jim Barry, posthumously, with the Outstanding Contribution to SOAR Award at the Fall 2022 Luncheon on November 16 2022. The award was presented to Jim's wife, Dana Barry, by Board Member and Awards Committee Chair Juanita Babcock, along with the following words:
The Outstanding Contribution to SOAR Award is one that is given every now and then and not intended to be given every year. It is reserved for those people making extra-special contributions to SOAR.
Jim Barry is one such person. Unfortunately, our friend and colleague passed away earlier this spring, leaving behind a huge void in SOAR. We miss him dearly.
Jim's contributions to SOAR are innumerable. He was on the SOAR Board of Directors for many years. He taught a multitude of classes, both enlightening and entertaining us in equal measure. Jim's search for knowledge knew no bounds, as the local libraries can attest. His astonishing web of contacts with past, current, and future SOAR presenters helped in building and keeping the Curriculum Committee's class offerings fresh, full, and expansive in its range of topics. Jim was responsible for founding the Super SOARer Award, for which he was the recipient in 2006, and for establishing the Mugs Program, which rewards all the presenters every semester.
But for many of us, just knowing him and his irrepressible penchant for humor and jokes was a sheer joy in itself. That sparkle in his eye, that impish grin, could lighten the mood in any room. Many of us were treated to nearly daily cartoons and humorous emails which never failed to give us LOL moments.
Jim was an incurably inveterate New York Yankees fan. Whether or not the Yankees made it to the World Series was not important. He was a loyal and true devotee of the team until the end.
Because of Jim's decades-long steady and consistent contribution to SOAR, we are not only giving this award to him posthumously, we are changing the award's name to the Jim Barry Outstanding Contribution to SOAR Award. Jim's name will be the first on this new plaque. Dana Barry, his wife of many years and of whom he was immensely proud for all her achievements and a regular SOAR presenter in her own right, will be accepting this award on behalf of her husband.