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Our Stories: The Iron Gaucho

As a linebacker for the UC Santa Barbara football team, Jim Barber was physical, tough and, by all accounts, a team-leader.
As a member of the Army Reserve at UCSB, Barber was, by also a leader.  He served a tour in Vietnam War, where he also led.
Closer to home as a member of the UCSB Alumni Association Board of Directors, Barber took the lead in creating the All Gaucho Reunion and also the Gaucho Athletic Association, now known as The Gaucho Order.
So, it was no surprise that when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS – Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in 2006, Barber, a retired attorney, became a leader in the efforts to win support for state laws that assist those Californians living with ALS.  He is a member of the ALS Advocacy Committee (CAAC) that helped advance passage of State Senate Bills 1502 and 1503.
In 2010, Barber was honored by the ALS Association with its prestigious Iron Horse Award and in April of 2013, UCSB Athletics named the academic wing of its Intercollegiate Athletics Building the “Jim and Cheryl Barber Academic & Student Success Center.

Jim passed in 2016 after waging his courageous battle with ALS yet his memory lives on through the Barber Academic Center and the thousands of Gauchos who will benefit from his legacy.