Bayard Stockton Dies at 75

by Nick Welsh

Bayard Stockton, the international journalist and onetime CIA
employee who served as one of Santa Barbara’s better known civic
activists and personalities for the last 20 years, died in his home
last Friday. At 75, he was felled by the persistent emphysema that
dogged him in recent years. During the past five years,
Stockton — endowed with a distinctively theatrical basso
profundo — made his Thursday evening adult education classes a
forum for Santa Barbarans to debate local and global affairs, often
with diplomats representing the more embroiled nations of the
world. A fixture at Hendry’s Beach, where he wore hats adorned with
material he found washed ashore, Stockton also advised Santa
Barbara Mayor Marty Blum in her first bid for mayor. “Sometimes we
get a little full of ourselves up here,” Blum recalled. “Bayard
tried to give me the man-on-the-street perspective. He’d say, ‘How
does this affect people living on the East Side?’” Stockton moved
to Santa Barbara in 1981 and interviewed notable personalities for
local radio station KMGQ-FM for several years. A writer for
Newsweek and BBC correspondent, Stockton also penned several books
of both fiction and nonfiction. His last book — which is yet to be
released — details the adventures of deceased former CIA operative
Bill Harvey, whose Cold War exploits included digging a tunnel
underneath the Soviet Embassy in East Berlin.