Obituary: James Alan Barbee
James Alan Barbee 1949-2018 (Jim No Horse to those with the soul of a cowboy) passed
away in Austin, Texas on April 16ft and told his final set of stories. Three years and three months ago, Alan was given three months to live but Alan was a rule breaker. He fought for the extra time because he just loved life too much to let go so quickly.
Brought up in Houston, Alan wanted to be a writer, He hitchhiked to the University of Iowa after being refused admittance into their prestigious creative program. He demanded entry. They agreed that they had a character on their hands and let him in. There, he learned to drink shots with Joseph Heller the author of Catch-Z2 and was told he needed more life experiences.
He left in search of such experience and he fought fires in Wyoming, sailing to Venezuela, leading helicopter ski trips, building custom homes, and enjoyed life, people, and their stories so much that he never got back to writing.
Alan eventually landed in Steamboat in the early seventies. There, he started the Barbee Paint Company and later in the very early eighties Alan realized the potential of the development of Yampa Street so he bought the old fish hatchery and turned it into the Yacht Club. He also organized the Barbee Paint softball team which unfortunately never got out of the “B” league, but good times were had by all. Alan also was elected to city council where he served but one term after proposing a lift ticket ta:< that did not sit well with the Ski Corp.
Alan never found a boundary he didn’t want to push and still holds the Guinness Book of Records for pudding sitting at the Cameo after having spent 50 hours sitting in a tub of lime pudding to raise money for charity.
Owning a bar and restaurant was the perfect opportunity to test the limits of drinking and drink he did. His epiphany came one morning when he woke up in a stranger’s bed. A little girl came in and asked if he was taking her to school. He did not know who she was, having met her mom only the night before. So he stopped drinking, went to AA and that led to God, dog shows, cowboy action shooting, total sobriety and Karen.
Addiction work became his first ministry and he helped numerous people. All Saints Episcopal Church in Austin opened many doors. He became one of the church’s taco guys and together they fed over 80,000 tacos to Austin’s homeless.
Alan was a voracious reader, an intelligent, witty, sensitive, loving, wild unpredictable man. Known as “Jim No Horse” to his Texas cowboy action shooting buddies (named as such after he tied up his horse outside a bar in Baggs, Wyoming and his friends hid the horse as a joke).
Alan is survived by his wife of 24 years, Karen Mountain, Skye Mourtain, the shared son he always wanted, his daughter-in-law Natalie, and his pride and joy, granddaughter Scarlett.
A funeral was held on April 29th at All Saints Episcopal Church in Austin and Alan was buried in Oakwood Cemetery followed by the shooting off of a cannon by his cowboy friends.
A “going away” roast was held three years ago after Alan’s lung cancer diagnosis (Alan sure outlived that) and can be found at https://youtube/lC6iVnvwxc.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User