Barry passed away peacefully at his home on February 1, 2014, surrounded by his family. The cause was leukemia. He had been treated for 8.5 years at Stanford, where he had received two stem cell transplants. He is survived by his wife, Bonnie of 45-years, three daughters, Megan Willdorf, Nina (Michael) Endelman, and Julia (Nick) Campins, and four grandchildren.

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,


9 Responses to

  1. Sasha says:

    I could not resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

  2. Jeffrey Sokolow says:

    Bonnie, my heart goes out to you and your family. The memory of the righteous is for a blessing, and Barry was righteous as they come.

  3. Steve Simon says:

    Bonnie, Megan, Nina, and Julia,
    Cynthia and I are so sorry for your loss. Barry is remembered fondly by those of us who have been at Lick long enough to have known him; he was a mensch.

  4. Maurine Poppers says:

    Dear Bonnie, Megan, Nina and Julia,
    I am so saddened to learn of Barry’s passing. Diane and I talked about the valiant battle he fought — and you all fought. I remember the several conversations he and I had about anything of interest that we shared. It was always stimulating and fun.
    I send you all my love. All of you have been an important part of my life.

  5. Dearest, dearest Bonnie,
    You and Barry were my closest friends in New York – and our bond has remained indelible. I loved and admired Barry for all best reasons – he was a great husband, father, grandfather, friend, advocate, author, fighter . . . human being! Even from the distance of years and miles, I feel his loss. I send my love to you, Megan, Nina and Julia. Dot

  6. Beccy Arenas says:

    Dear Bonnie, Megan,Nina and Julia
    Our deepest sympathy is offered to all of you.
    Love from Arenas Family

  7. Darrend Brown says:

    I so miss sitting around with Barry and the rest of the Blackpoint crew talking about fiction. Barry was so easy and casual with contention that it was fun disagreeing with him…a part of him always seemed to be standing back laughing. Makes me grin just remembering it.

  8. cheryl ward says:

    Julia and Family,
    We are so sorry to hear this news and want you to know you are all in our thoughts and prayers.
    Charles and Cheryl Ward
    Che Hashim (Day School classmate)

  9. Greg Daniels says:

    I sent a message earlier today but it is not showing up here… my name is Greg Daniels. I was the one in the Daniels vs. CVS cases that Barry and Laura took on, on my behalf. I spent ALOT of time with Barry and Laura from 2003 – 2005, and we became pretty close. Barry was kind enough to take my case, even though it seemed fighting this huge corporation was an uphill battle. He was compassionate, and I truly felt he was always on my side. He and Laura were like my parents, and like “good cop/bad cop” in court… both with their own distinct styles.
    In any case, I just randomly found out from ALRP today, about Barry’s passing and I want to say how very sorry I am for your loss, and how sad and shocked I was to hear the news. I was sorry to hear that after my battle, he had his own battle to deal with. I really want to say sorry again, and let you know that I think he was a wonderful man, and I will never forget the two+ years spent battling CVS.
    Rest in peace Barry, and thank you FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART, for believing me, believing IN me, and taking on my case. I couldn’t have done it without you (and Laura).
    I will never forget you…
    Gregory S. Daniels

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