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William Joseph Barnds

April 15, 1927 October 13, 2017
William Joseph Barnds
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Obituary for William Joseph Barnds
William Joseph Barnds was born April 15, 1927 in Oak Park, Illinois. His parents moved to Pontiac, Michigan in 1929, where he grew up. He graduated from Pontiac Central High School towards the end of WWII and “joined the navy to stay out of the army.” His naval service was spent first on a minesweeper in the Pacific theatre and then, after the Japanese surrender, training members of Chiang Kai Chek’s navy in radio technology on mainland China.

Like every good Midwestern Irish Catholic boy, he wanted to go to Notre Dame, but with the crush of returning soldiers entering college on the GI Bill, he ended up at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He graduated in 1950 with a degree in finance and in 1951 with a Masters Degree in economics. He then moved to Washington, DC to work as an intelligence analyst. He was married in 1952 to Mary Lynch, and from 1953-1960 they had five children. During this time, he also attended law school at Georgetown University, earning his LLB with distinction in 1960 and working on the Law Review.

His motivation to work in international affairs was based in altruism. In his words: “The Cold War and the demise of European Colonialism after the upheavals of World War II projected the United States into world affairs far beyond the imaginings of preceding generations. It was for this reason that I joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1952.” He worked first as an analyst on the Soviet/Eastern European Desk. Dad’s words again: “In 1956, fascinated by the contest between the Soviet bloc and the West for influence in the newly independent Asian countries and by the efforts of these new states to develop their societies, I began working on the South Asian desk.”

He believed strongly that all people, and all nations, were deserving of being treated with respect. Again, in his own words: “It was clear even to a novice that India and Pakistan wanted a dignified position—as agents rather than objects—in a world still organized on the basis of European sovereign states….[and] to maintain the essence of their ancient cultures and traditions, adapting them as necessary to modernize their societies so that they could deal with Western nations on an equal basis.”

From 1956 to 1966 he worked at the Office of National Estimates in the CIA; ONE was guided by leadership who rigorously insisted on excellence in research rather than adherence to or promotion of political aims. In 1966, as the war in Vietnam escalated, Dad, like many of his colleagues in the next few years, left the CIA. ONE was disbanded by Richard Nixon in 1973 for repeatedly reporting that strategic bombing of North Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos would not alter the course of the war.

After leaving government service in 1966, he spent the next 12 years as a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in NYC; during this time he authored and edited multiple books on first, South Asia, later on East Asia (China, Japan, Korea). In 1978, he returned to government service first as a contract worker, working for Senator Frank Church on drafting what became the Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980 (arising from the intelligence scandals of the 1970s). From 1979 to 1981 he was senior staff on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, working on, among other issues, the establishment of a bilateral trade agreement with the People’s Republic of China after normalization of diplomatic relations in January 1979. He was a member of the delegation making a reciprocal visit in August 1979 to Beijing after then Vice-Premier Deng Zhao Peng’s visit to Washington earlier that year.

After the Republican takeover of the Senate in 1980, he became Staff director of the Asian and Pacific Affairs Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Steven Solarz. He retired from this position, and from government service, in 1985. He then became president of the Japan Economic Institute, a non-profit research organization supported by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. JEI was widely recognized in both the United States and Japan as an authoritative source for current information on the Japanese economy, Japanese politics, Japanese foreign policy, and US-Japan relations. He retired from JEI in 1990. Upon his retirement, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun (Golden Rays and Ribbon) by the Emperor of Japan.

He spent the early years of his retirement traveling with his wife, Mary, to visit friends and family in the US and abroad. Following Mary’s death in 1994, he remained in Washington. In 1997, he married Judy Lindblom Marker, with whom he enjoyed three years of sharing family visits, leisure activities, and travel until her death in 2000. He relocated to Elmhurst, IL in 2003 to be near family--his son Thomas Barnds and daughter Ann Barnds—and to Centennial, Colorado in 2009 to live with his daughter Ellen Barnds-Datino and family.

He was a devout Roman Catholic with a strong work ethic, a belief in public service, and a conviction that one should use one’s skills, talents, leadership and influence to advance opportunities for all, particularly those less advantaged in life. He was a lifelong believer in and champion of racial justice. In high school he organized a team boycott of a dance at the YMCA in Pontiac because a black team member was not to be admitted. In early post-war China, he antagonized some of his fellow service members by bringing a Chinese trainee to the YMCA. In 1967, he refused to close on the sale of the family’s home until a racially restrictive covenant that had been in the deed when the home was purchased could be removed. Because of the delay caused by the removal of the covenant, the buyer negotiated a $1000 reduction in the price; he accepted this as the price of doing what was right rather than what was easy.

He was a strong believer in women’s abilities--encouraging, supporting, and accepting (not always in that order) the choices his wife, daughters, and granddaughters made about their own life paths, and actively mentoring women in the workplace. A long-time member of the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, he strongly favored the admission of women. He was active in supporting opportunities for education at all levels for students in the US and abroad, particularly those living in poverty.

He was preceded in death by his first wife Mary Lynch Barnds (1952-1994) and his second wife Judy Lindblom Marker Barnds (1997-2000), his eldest son John (1953-1971) and youngest son Joseph (1960-1989).

He is survived by his brother Jack (Sally), children Ann Barnds (Thomas Haines), Ellen Barnds-Datino (Michael), Thomas Barnds (Jane), grandchildren Jessiee, Flint and Elizabeth Datino, Martha Scarpelli (Giuseppi), Rosemary and Will Barnds, and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family members.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to support educational opportunities for children in developing countries at
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Previous Events

Funeral Service




10:00 AM 10/20/2017 10:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 10/20/2017 11:00:00 AM
St. Mary Catholic Church

6853 South Prince Street
Littleton, CO 80120

Funeral Mass. Services conclude at the church.

St. Mary Catholic Church
6853 South Prince Street Littleton 80120 CO
United States

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