On the Passing of our Brother Bruce W. Barrick

UPDDTE III, 7/20 – below
UPDATE II, 7/16 – below
UPDATE I, 7/15 – below

The Iota Alumni Association is saddened to report on the death of Bruce Barrick.

Available accounts report that he was found in his home in Austin today and appears to have died of natural causes.

We will keep this post updated as information on services becomes available.


I encourage everyone from our community of friends and brothers to add comments to this post. Share your memories as we all prepare to say a final goodbye to our Brother Bruce.


Here is the updated information on Bruce Barrick’s funeral:


Visitation: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 5:00-7:00 pm
Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home
2620 South Congress Ave.
Austin, Texas 78704

Funeral: Thursday, July 22nd, 2010 10:00 am
University United Methodist Church
2409 Guadalupe Street
Austin, Texas 78705


Visitation: Friday July 23, 2010 4:00-6:00 pm
George H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home
1010 Bering Drive
Houston, Texas 77057

Funeral: Saturday, July 24, 2010 10:00 am
Glenwood Cemetery (Grave site service only)
2525 Washington Blvd.
Houston, Texas 77007

UPDATE II – via Erik Harpst

Bruce’s service will now be at University Methodist Church, Brother Chuck Merrill’s church. In case you are unaware, Brother Merrill was a longtime pastor at this church and a huge supporter of Iota and all it stands for. Chuck passed away a few years ago, and after his death, Bruce began an SU scholarship fund in Chuck’s name.

Austin: Thursday July 22nd 10:00 am University Methodist Church on Guadalupe
Houston: Saturday July 24th 10:00 am George H. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home
The only possible change with the Houston date would be a time change from 10:00
to 9:00 am.We should have final updates by Monday.

I will be sending important info and updates to the official Iota web site at iotachapter.org . Check it out, there are great photos of Bruce and posts from brothers. Feel free to leave your own thoughts or memories of Bruce.

Erik Harpst


Brothers and friends,

There are two Barrick services TENTATIVELY planned. Bruce will attend both of them.

Austin: Thursday, July 22, 2010. 10:00 am, University Christian Church, at UT (see UPDATED II above)

Houston: Saturday, July 24, 2010. 10:00 am, George H. Lewis & Sons funeral home

Bruce requested a wake. Bruce’s 60th birthday bash was at a beer hall in Austin. Maybe a similar bash would be appropriate. When it gets cooler. Like September. Seriously.

We are looking for pictures of Bruce for photo boards to be displayed at the funerals. If you have some, please email them to this address ASAP.

Bruce deserves to honored in the same way that he insisted his deceased brothers were honored. He will get that, and more.

When details are confirmed it will be passed on.

Erik Harpst

Bruce Barrick SU Homecoming 2006

Bruce introduces the late Rev. Chuck Merrill

Bruce and Norwood

21 thoughts on On the Passing of our Brother Bruce W. Barrick

  1. It’s hard to imagine a Homecoming or Alumni Weekend without Bruce. He didn’t miss many.

    He was an important catalyst for our fraternity, constantly prodding and pushing us to do the the hard work that that an organization of our history, scope, and stature should do: communicate, reach out, raise funds, give back, lend a hand, and always to be better.

    On many occasions, he kindly but firmly recruited me into work in which he knew I could deliver.

    He was a past president of our Alumni Association.

    He help spearhead the Chuck Merrill Scholarship Fund (http://www.sugrads.org/articles/news_from_su/chuck_merrill_scholarship.aspx)

    He, by his own parliamentary mastery, crafted the resolution which formed the working committee comprised of Scott Hanson, Alan Haworth, and others who delivered the first Iota Career Day this past spring.

    That’s all just within the past few years…

    I’m sure others will stretch our collective memory back further.

    AEKDB. We’ll miss you Bruce.

  2. At the request of Mr. Goodman, I’m re-posting a little blurb I put on Facebook this morning:

    Smoked oysters, crackers, and mustard. Bourbon in a crystal decanter and Franzia in the fridge. Interrupting important business to whistle along with that particular melody in “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” That’s how I remember Bruce Barrick. RIP. Your tireless efforts, and legendary high-C, will be missed. –AEKDB.

  3. Bruce instilled in me – gosh was it twenty years ago already? – love for local and state politics, progressive values, and a passion for life. Above all, Bruce cared deeply for Iota and for Southwestern, and I don’t think he ever took a breath without having a purpose behind it.

    Bruce’s leadership on the formation of the Merrill Scholarship Fund is but one part of his legacy … a legacy of hard work that will continue to enrich the lives of Sigs for generations to come.

  4. When I think of Kappa Sigma, and leadership, I think of Bruce Barrick. I was thinking when I heard the news, about how the newest and future pledges are going to be in a chapter and not know what it was like with Bruce taking a leadership role and to define what it is to be a leader and a Kappa Sigma. He was always whistling a tune and always had something to say, but ultimately his contributions were the lifeblood of our brotherhood, and for that, he will be sorely missed.

  5. RIP Bruce Barrick – a warm soul, a great supporter of IOTA, you will be greatly missed brother

  6. I’ve been absent at many more recent homecomings and alumni weekends, but I suppose that when I do return things will be a little less fun. I could always count on a good argument over liberal politics fueled by one too many glasses of wine on our parts.

    Bruce was certainly a character and will be missed.

  7. Brothers,

    I post my comment from earlier in the day for a larger audience of our brethren.

    I would say that not a single brother coming through the chapter in the past 40 years did not have the opportunity to meet and work with Bruce on at least one chapter event. And, I would say that very few came away without an opinion about Bruce. That was his gift – and curse, I think – he generated strong emotions within the individual.

    I have had the opportunity to reconnect with Bruce over the past couple of years as we have worked together to plan pledge-alumni weekend events. Bruce’s efforts and attention were always geared to facilitating the induction of these new members into our brotherhood as quickly, seamlessly, and completely as possible within the short period of time that they have as pledges. Bruce recognized the value of time spent with alumni and opened his house and his hospitality to many of us over the years. As our brothers have indicated here, regardless of how we felt about Bruce as an individual, none of us could ever question his dedication to the chapter.

    Please share this sad news with the brothers in your circles. Iota has lost a champion. It is incumbent upon us to pick up the torch and do our best to carry it with the same passion and dedication that Bruce has shown for so many years. And tonight, have a “hot toddy” and toast Brother Barrick. We should be lucky enough to have something in our lives about which we are as passionate and dedicated as he was to our chapter.


  8. When I got off the phone last night and told my wife that Bruce Barrick had died, she asked “was he the annoying one?”

    What more can be said about Bruce? He was “annoying” because he loved Iota, and that should serve as an example of how involved we should all try to be as alumni. He will be sincerely missed.


  9. Bruce taught me that if you have the courage to cast aside your own limitations you might not have a longer life, but you will most certainly have a better one.

  10. My Brothers,

    I remember a very special visit to Bruce’s house during my pledge semester with my pledge brothers. I recall Bruce blaring La Boheme among other opera greats while showing and explaining his many achievements, recognitions, and awards. One of the ways that we connected was through a mutual passion for the small country of Wales. As I am half Welsh, I affectionately was dubbed by Bruce as his “little Welsh friend.” While I found it a wee bit creepy at the time, I now look back upon the remark with great fondness.

    Last spring I spent my last semester at Southwestern serving as GMC for a group of excellent young men. In coordinating with Bruce for a specific pledge event, he undoubtedly (as Matt Barnes noted) annoyed the hell out of me in the process. It’s now that I remember the times that I annoyed people and created controversy. I know I did these things because I love Iota, just as Bruce did. Love comes in strange forms and with our chapter it came every Alumni Weekend and Homecoming in the form of an eccentric man from Austin who had to have a glass of wine before any business was attended to.

    I always admired Bruce for his dedication to Iota. It remains my goal to be as involved a dedicated to the Iotian cause as he was. He represented an older generation of a system and an extended family that I love and truly believe in. I love you brother and we’ll take it from here.

    Colin Elliott
    Spring ’05

  11. Let me second the words of Brother Goodman – Alumni Weekend will never be the same without Bruce. It should also be said that Iota will never be the same without Bruce. As much as I disagreed with his lifestyle and politics, I loved his appreciation for life, his energy and his dedication to Iota.

    I could recount far too many Bruce stories, but just enjoy as your own Bruce stories play in your head. We are saddened at the loss of a great friend and Brother but rejoice that he will have the bar scoped out for us in advance.

    Bruce, I am having whiskey tonight in your honor. ok, to be honest I have whiskey everynight. Cheers Brother.



  12. RIP, Bruce. I will miss your generous spirit & your passion which defined everything you did. Thanks for the memories. Cheers…

  13. We all cursed his name, but only because of his persistence and attention to detail.

  14. He strove to be as efficient as a Prussian army, attempted to tackle projects like Sherman hit Georgia, and could whistle any oldie Froggy 94 FM cared to play. I broke bread at his apartment in Austin many times back in the day, and because of his dyslexia, edited more letters and faxes for him than I can remember. We had little in common, save for Kappa Sigma, I think, but we were friends. And anyway, with Bruce, he relished debating points of view on just about everything. I’m sorry I lost touch with him over the past decade. Tonight, I shall buy a box of wine and call someone “Buckwheat” in his honor. May he rest in peace.

  15. The Beta Zeta chapter sends its condolences to the Brothers of Iota chapter. We’re sorry for the loss of such an inspirational brother.

  16. I first knew Bruce as a warm, friendly guy who showed up at every homecoming and alumni weekend. He was able to talk with anybody about anything. At length. He supported the Iota chapter intensely and was a terrific advocate for us with the SU administration when we needed a grown up.

    I also ran into him a lot in Austin in the last 5 years at political fund raisers and rallies and primary voting locations. It was interesting seeing “professional” Bruce at work. He moved smoothly between pleasant charmer to screaming badger depending on the situation.

  17. Bruce served on the City of Austin Edu Consortium for years. He served with gusto and passion. He was a friend and will be missed.

  18. As Erik and I have been going through the Harpst Photo Archives to select photos of Bruce for his funeral services, the memories have been flooding in. As I told Davy Crockett tonight, Bruce had the ability to see the potential in people they could not see in themselves, and therefore was relentless in pushing them to achieve that potential. He was passionate about his beliefs however unpopular they may have been. I am grateful to have been a part of his life, and he of mine. I loved Bruce Barrick. His life will be celebrated and he will be missed.

  19. I remember as an active hearing people bellyache collectively about working with Bruce on IOTA projects. Yet the projects were always for the good of the order and the people involved pretty much always saw them through to the end. I thought, “What’s the big deal, the guy gets results and so what if he is a little quirky?” Then, when it was my turn to be brought in to his projects, I understood. But seriously, Bruce had a rare combination of meticulous precision and a calm, easy going demeanor. Even if all of us still living step up together and carry the torches he carried, which I hope we do in his honor, we will never fill the void he has left in the IOTA legacy. Rest in peace my brother, AEKDB.

  20. Bruce was the opposite of alienated. I identified with Bruce’s ‘annoyingness’ and envied his ability to push people and rally others to his vision. His hospitality was a generous negotiation. And I picture him now in a button-down (untucked), shorts (pleated), barefooted in modified lotus position, with a glass raised. Spinning some heavy vinyl for you, Bruce.

  21. The flurry of posts is over, Brother Barrick’s body is resting in the ground, and his soul is, as WHM states above, scoping the bar with never-endng libations, and I have finally had time enough to reflect on Bruce’s passing and pen some thoughts about Bruce.

    My memories of Bruce begin at the time he became re-engaged with Iota – in the summer of 1985. While living at the sultry hot Sigma, in blows this mid-30’s hipster speaking about “The Movement”, burying his brains at the booties after a little “eh-eh”, and how he’s spoken with Harpst about planning for the Centennial. We were ok with this “old” alumni spewing this stuff, as we were hippie throwbacks and dug any anti-war protester we could get our hands on, and were happy that he had food (cabrito, of course) and liquor, and seemed to be willing to share. We were a bit surprised that BB was so jacked-up about planning for Centennial, since it wasn’t until October, 1986. He had somehow believed it was October, 1985 (sit down, Bruce). But that’s classic Barrick – gusto and dedication.

    After that time, I became quite close with Bruce – speaking at least several times each week for what seemed like years – for either substantive conversations, or maybe just a “pro-forma” conversation. Any Brother who had been initiated prior to 10/12/86 should remember the Centennial Celebration, and should know that BB was a, if not the, major driving force behind that event (toss up with EBH). And that was just the beginning.

    His accomplishments as a champion of Iota have been recounted above and, no doubt, in the numerous conversations that have occurred among the Brothers over the last three weeks.

    Make no mistake about it – as BB’s primary point of contact at the Sigma for several years, and through our continuing work from 1988 through 2000, I can attest to the controversial, annoying nature of Bruce. However, as I have learned during my years of parenting (and, as we all do, wish I had known back in college), the annoyance was on balance far outweighed by the benefits of the relationship with Bruce. His dedication to our cause and to many others, was, at the very least, admirable. His good-heartedness (is that a word? – Dunn/Kirkscey – help me out here) I have rarely encountered since.

    I know I am rambling here, but this is about Bruce, so rambling is only appropriate, yes? I will close with some discrete memories – instances, thoughts, and concepts – of Bruce (in no particular order of importance) –
    1. “We must tackle this with the efficiency of a Prussian Army”.
    2. “Debbie – You’re salad God. Kerry – You’re music God”.
    3. “Damn It – “.
    4. “Do you have any ‘eh-eh'”?
    5. Our conversations (circa 1986) about the 60’s, how the world had gone to hell, and how Ronald Reagan was the devil.
    6. Our debates/arguments (circa 1996) about the 80’s, how the world had gone to hell, and how Bill Clinton was the devil (my argument, of coure).
    7. Bruce whistling to the finest Wagner while simultaneously using the dashboard as a keyboard – I think he actually dented the dashboard.
    8. “If I plan an event and invite 100 people and 98 show up, I want to know why the hell the other 2 didn’t show up! – Damn it! – Idealism is not a youthful disease!”.
    9. Bruce being upset that my wife and I didn’t show up for his 40th birthday party the night after we returned from our honeymoon (see #8 above).
    10. “Can you play some CSN?”
    11. The laugh – the nervous one – when someone had said something he didn’t like, totally disagreed with, or was inappropriate for the situation.
    12. The laugh – the big one – when he was enjoying himself with friends.
    13. The cognitive dissonance I experienced upon seeing Bruce all duded up in a shirt, tie, and jacket and looking all official and respectable (and, yes, as y’all know, the shirt was often times optional with Bruce).
    14. The dogged persistence and devotion to all things Iota.
    15. “Oh, shit, it’s Bruce calling – what the hell does he want to talk about now?”.
    15. His dedication to the dis-enfranchised.
    16. The punch in the gut feeling I got upon hearing of his death – and the crappy feeling I got that I had not kept in touch with him.

    Iota has, indeed, lost a Lion.

    Thanks for the education, experience, and fabulous memories, Bruce. Rest In Peace, my Brother.

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