James "Pete" Philip Barich passed away peacefully February 19, 2021 due to complications from Parkinson's. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 10. 2021 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Roslyn. In-person attendance at Mass will be limited to immediate family, however the church will provide a livestream to the service (click here). Friends are invited to attend the committal service and rendering of military honors that will occur following Mass at around Noon in the Roslyn Veteran's Cemetery.
He was born in Roslyn, Washington in 1931 to Vance and Paulina (Paskvan) Barich, immigrants from Croatia who raised fourteen children in the small mining town during the Great Depression. James was the twelfth child, one of nine boys who shared the third floor of the family's home.
After graduating from high school, James served in the Marines and was stationed in California. He was one of ten brother and sisters who served in the Military. The Barich family took pride in their roles as patriotic Americans.
Returning home to Roslyn after completing his military service, James spent a year working in the coal mines as a "Rope Rider". They did the most dangerous work in the mines, balancing precariously on the hitches between coal cars as they wound through darkened tunnels. His brother Larry intervened and convinced James to join him at Gonzaga University to get a college education and with the advice from his older brother, started on his lifelong path of becoming an educator. During this time, he married Lucille Vittone and they started their family with the birth of first son Michael. James graduated from Gonzaga University and would later further his education at the University of Washington and Seattle Pacific University.
James would go on to become not only a teacher, but a vice principal and then principal in the Edmonds School District. His greatest accomplishment and pride was the opening of a new junior high school, Brier Jr High School, in 1969 in which he served as Principal for many years. He then moved on to Alderwood and Madrona Jr High schools before retiring. James was recognized for his work and dedication by being honored as the Washington State School Administrator of the Year. After retirement and years of dedication as an educator, he returned to his roots in the Roslyn Cle Elum area to build his dream home, was a substitute teacher in the school district there, and volunteered many tireless hours to community organizations, the Roslyn Catholic Church, and Saint Barbara's Croatian Cemetery where his mother, father, baby sister are laid to rest.
James was a dedicated father first and foremost. He cherished his children and embraced every moment with them. Their childhood is chock full of the many summer month long camping trips in which he would pack them all up in the family camper, head off to destinations near and far, gifting his children with treasured memories that they now hold so dear. He especially loved his role as grandpa, passing along life lessons, the love and pride of his Croatian heritage, and his love of the outdoors - especially fishing. He had a vivacious personality and could captivate family, friends and even complete strangers as a master storyteller. He had a way of making anyone he came across feel special, important, and appreciated including his fifty-five nieces and nephews each with a special connection who affectionally called him their "Uncle Pete".
James is survived by sister, Dorothy (Barich) Olson, his children Michael (Jill), Michelle, Patricia (Paul) Schell, and Karleen (Steve) Steinle. His grandchildren James and Ryan, Cameron and Connor, Michaela and Sam, and great grandchildren Cooper and Kyle. In addition, his second wife Mae, her daughter Linda (Jim) Berres and the twins.
A life well lived, a devoted Catholic with an unbeatable faith in God's promise of eternal life with Him. ZIVIO!!
Memorial contributions in James' honor are suggested to a Parkinson Disease Association or to the charity of choice that would honor his dedication to education, his faith, his love of the outdoors.
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