DURANGO - William “Bill” James Barkley, III, 78, passed away on Sunday, December 22, 2019 in Durango, CO where he moved in 2016 to be close to family after the passing of his wife, Ellie. Bill was an icon at Sunshine Gardens over the last four years bringing a smile to the face of all who met him, always offering a kind word or willing to help others. He was also an avid supporter of Durango sports, never missing a chance to see his grandsons play football and lacrosse. Bill made annual pilgrimages to Ohio to spend time with family and enjoy the sports and activities of his grandchildren. Family was the most important thing to him.
Bill was born on May 2, 1941 in Richmond, VA. HIs family lived in Richmond, VA and Lakewood, OH, however he spent most of his memorable childhood years in Roanoke, VA. He was active in sports, most notably football, and Boy Scouts. He traveled nationally to Scout jamborees by taking a train across the US from VA to Orange County, CA with his troop most summers. As his family moved to Atherton, CA in 1959, Bill stayed on the east coast to attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) to study metallurgical engineering. There he met Eleanor Gauch, a student at Russell Sage College, through mutual friends. They were married June 20, 1964 and spent their early years in Groton, CT where Bill and his engineering team built nuclear submarines. From there, they moved to Rochester, NY to work for Eastman Kodak designing high powered lenses for spy satellites. His career changed direction to sales relocating to Pittsburgh, PA selling IT solutions working for Comshare, Inc. for almost 25 years. During his time in Pittsburgh, three major life events occurred: the birth of his first son, William James Barkley, IV, the birth of his second son, Andrew Joseph Barkley, and the purchase of his Steeler seat licenses. The family moved to Norfolk, MA in 1973 and remained there for over 20 years. There he raised his sons and supported them in their numerous sports, activities, and academic pursuits and dutifully attended the numerous social events his wife flawlessly planned. Known for his passionate pursuit of justice, he was never shy with his feelings on the performance of the referees in his son’s games. Another highlight of his time in Norfolk was spending summers in upstate New York entertaining extended family and countless friends on Burden Lake. He transitioned to retirement in Tucson, AZ where he built a community park, established deep friendships and a passion for University of Arizona Women’s Softball Wildcats success.
During his lifetime, Bill was very involved in his community including serving as Commissioner for Little League, coaching multiple teams, and volunteering for numerous nonprofits. He was an avid runner, softball player and devout Steeler fan.
Bill is survived by his two sons, William Barkley, IV of Durango, CO and Andrew Barkley of Rocky River, OH; two daughters – in – law, Jillian Barkley and Heather Huston Barkley; five grandchildren Collin, Ryan, and Travis of Durango, Patrick and Madeline of Rocky River; brothers Richard Barkley of Maricopa, AZ, Jeff Barkley of Naples, FL, and Matt Barkley of Berlin, MD; and sister Ellen Barkley of Berea, OH. He was preceded in death by his wife, Eleanor Gauch Barkley in 2014.
A celebration of life is planned for summer 2020 in upstate NY. In lieu of flowers, please direct gifts to the Wounded Warrior Project.