Barney Berglund: 1957 –2014

<b>HUGE IN SPIRIT:</b> The multiyear chair of the Santa Barbara committee for the Amgen Tour, Barney Berglund brought cycling to the wider community.
Courtesy Photo

It was a very lucky day in 2002 when Barney Berglund first looked into our school for his son. Jonas Berglund came to Anacapa from the Waldorf School of Santa Barbara, where Barney had been actively involved as a member of Waldorf’s governing board. From the get-go, there wasn’t any doubt that Anacapa and the Berglund family were a perfect match. Barney and his family were always very supportive of our program, and when we launched our first endowment campaign in 2003, the Berglunds hosted a festive kickoff party and made a generous leadership donation. After Jonas graduated in 2006, Barney joined our Board of Trustees and served faithfully until taking a leave of absence when diagnosed with cancer.

Barney’s savvy financial management skills were put to good use as we faced and met the challenges of the recent recession. His ever-present “can-do” attitude and radiant smile kept us moving forward with optimism. Every Anacapa School auction in recent years had a stand-up paddleboard donated by Barney’s BlueLine Stand Up Paddle Surf business, and two years ago, I won a bright orange one that I will paddle with pride for years to come.

Barney Berglund touched many lives in Santa Barbara. I knew about his legendary status in the cycling world and his life in Colorado, and I wanted to learn more details about those sides of his life. I asked his close circle of friends to submit their recollections, and their responses go to the heart and soul of our dear friend.

I first came to meet Barney on what is known to local Santa Barbara cyclists as the “Sunday Worlds” ride that leaves from the Bathhouse. A cyclist’s first instinct is to size up another rider’s ability by inspecting their legs. Shaved, tanned legs with cut, rippling calves and copious visible veins is the telltale sign that the guy can ride. After a quick analysis, I said “hello” back to Barney, “I’m Dano, pleased to meet you,” and I knew instantly I’d be following his wheel for a long time.

That exchange was 12 years ago, and most of the local peloton would agree that we’ve been following Barney’s wheel all the while. More important was the friendship that was born that day. Barney was of average build but huge in spirit. I’m sure I can speak for all of his friends when I say that Barney brought something unique and genuine to the table. He enhanced our lives. He made us laugh. He punished us on the bike. He brought us into his family. He took us on private jet trips to Aspen. Never pretentious. Always generous.

Barney had his unique style we all loved. Selling stand-up paddleboards at BlueLine in board shorts and Bruno Maglis. Showing up for races with the bike in the Porsche and then waiting in the registration line in his leather jacket and black penny loafers. Who does that? Barney does.

I will always remember Barney’s passion for life, his desire to never stop and to keep moving forward in whatever he was doing. His famous salutations in the group: “Come on, guys, we’re going too slow … ” Well, Barney, we never kept up with you in the past, but at some point in the future, I’m sure we’ll have to try all over again. —Dan Onorato

Barney’s contributions to the Santa Barbara and cycling communities as chairman of the Local Organizing Committee for the Amgen Tour of California from 2006-2013 are as notable as his unwavering team spirit. His enthusiasm and dedication to bringing the international bicycle race to life on Santa Barbara County’s roads — and in our hearts — truly define his legacy as a community advocate. Under his guidance, the race grew from a grassroots effort to a countywide coming-together of all ages, and it gave Santa Barbara worldwide recognition as a premier cycling destination.

Barney worked tirelessly to ensure that cyclists, support teams, citizens, enthusiasts, media, local business owners, and county officials would enjoy the event equally. Although the roar of the crowd was intended for the athletes who raced out of the starting gates and over the finish line, Barney was just as deserving of the glory. His devotion never demanded thanks or tribute, but we give him both. Our future events are guided by Barney’s pure love of the sport. —Kathy Janega-Dykes, President and CEO of Visit Santa Barbara

Barney Berglund was so many things to so many people. We remember him as a devoted dad, a dedicated community volunteer, a smart and savvy businessman, a loyal friend, a fun-loving outdoorsman. Barney was a quiet leader, someone who knew how to get the job done but with a minimum of fuss and bother. He was a kind man, a humble man, a gentle man who touched many lives — and all for the better — during his too-brief time with us. We remember and celebrate Barney’s zest for life embodied by the ever-present twinkle in his eyes and the friendly smile he had for everyone. —Sheryn Sears of Anacapa School

While Barney called Santa Barbara his home, he spent as much leisure time as possible during the summer and winter months in Aspen, Colorado, where his parents have a home. Here, he could enjoy his passions for skiing and cycling, always pushing himself to new levels of fitness. With fresh snow and a bluebird day, you could always find him skiing on the mountain with his children, parents, sister, brother, and friends.

Besides skiing, he would come to Aspen in the summer to bike the mountain roads and conquer the steep mountain passes. Over the past few years, he also supported the Bicycle Tour of Colorado as it passed through Aspen for one or two of their stages.

He made many long-lasting friendships over his years in Aspen and will be missed by all who got to ride the hills and slopes with him and his gentle smile. —Nancy Paley, Aspen, Colorado

Gordon Sichi is headmaster of Anacapa School.


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