May 5th, 2012 – The Barker Memorial
The memorial celebrating the life and work of Professor Muhammad Abd-al Rahman Barker was a great success. Held at the Sheraton Midtown Hotel in the heart of south Minneapolis, over 60 people gathered to remember the accomplishments of the celebrated linguist, scholar and game designer.
The evening began with a social hour, with former colleagues, students, family and friends arriving at the hotel. Mrs. Ambereen Barker was accompanied by her sister-in-law, and graciously greeted guests as they visited her to express their condolences.
At 6:30pm, the chair of the Tékumel Foundation, Dr. Victor Raymond, gave a brief introduction to a 20-minute audio-visual presentation about Prof. Barker. Compiled from Prof. Barker’s own photo collection by Janet Moe and Mrs. Barker, the presentation showed highlights including the 1950 World Science Fiction Convention, Prof. Barker’s studies in India and Pakistan, his time teaching at McGill University and the University of Minnesota, wargaming with friends, and his later travels with Mrs. Barker. Following the presentation, there were a series of short remembrances. Among those speaking were:
- Chris Davis, longtime Tékumel fan and moderator of The Blue Room
- Bob Alberti, member of the Thursday Night Group and Tékumel Foundation treasurer
- Dr. Indira Junghare, former student and colleague of Prof. Barker
- Al Musielewicz, member of the Thursday Night Group, Tékumel Foundation board member and student of Prof. Barker
- John Till, longtime Tékumel fan and member of the Aethervox Gamers
- Dr. Victor Raymond, member of the Thursday Night Group and Tékumel Foundation Chair
- Heather Davies, member of the Aethervox Gamers and personal friend of the Barkers
“It was a really nice way to remember Phil,” said Thomas Juntunen, who was one of the attendees. Tékumel fans present included Ken Fletcher, Joe Zottola, Jim Bodine, Bill Hoyt and many others. As socializing continued, Jeff Berry provided tours of the famous Temple of Vimúhla, keeping his audience in rapt attention as he detailed the inner sections of the scale model. Photographs of the event were taken by Dave E. Romm, including the one shown above. (Additional photos can be seen on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150834696485138.430107.530260137&type=3&l=7eb8b54bac )
After the formal occasion was over, friends and colleagues of Prof. Barker stayed to reminisce in the lobby and hotel restaurant, sharing stories of old adventures on Earth as well as on Tékumel.