A life-long activist, Barry was born in New York on March 6, 1945. He grew up in Malden and in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Barry attended Colby College in Maine and the University of Manchester, in Manchester, England, where he studied history and economics. He attended Columbia Law School in New York, where he was an active member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), an anti-war organization. He and Bonnie Offner were married June 1968. After graduation from Columbia in 1969, he practiced law with the Legal Aid Society in New York City. He and Bonnie moved to Southern California in 1970, where he founded, near the height of the Vietnam War, the Southern California Military Law Project, an organization that defended servicemen charged with violations of military law. His semi-autobiographical novel, Bring the War Home!, is based on this period in their lives. Barry also co-authored a self-help book for military personnel. In 1971, he and Bonnie moved to San Francisco. Barry opened his law practice in San Francisco, practicing criminal, and eventually civil law. For many years, he practiced with his longtime legal partner, Laura Stevens. Over the course of several decades, he litigated hundreds of cases, representing employees, actors, artists, victims of investment and real estate fraud, and tenants.
In 2005, the San Francisco AIDS Legal Referral Panel named him Lawyer of the Year for groundbreaking work on behalf of AIDS patients, including the case of Daniels v. CVS. Barry often made headlines for the controversial cases he handled, including the wrongful death of a woman on welfare and the swindle of investors in a South African gold mine. In his last case, he and Laura won a multimillion dollar jury verdict against a Bay Area landlord who regularly cheated his tenants out of their security deposits. As his legal career wound down and as he became a grandfather, he turned increasingly to writing and published five novels. Those who knew him remember him as a loyal friend, loving husband, father, and grandfather, a warm host, and a fierce advocate, ready to take a case, defend the defenseless and comfort the afflicted.
Funeral services at Beth Isreal Judea, 625 Brotherhood Way, San Francisco on Tuesday at 10:00a.m. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Hope Reichbach Fund, hopeforbrooklyn.com.