Beth & Dick Barham Bios

About Me: I was born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland. I met Dick during my senior year at the University of Maryland and we married within the year. Dick, having been born in Texas, yearned to get back and I was all in for a new adventure. We moved to Temple, Texas in 1973. We have lived up and down I-35 ever since and now live in Dripping Springs. We had two children along the way, both of whom (plus two grandsons) now live in the Austin area. Career-wise, I was Director of Creative and Production for the San Antonio Business Journal. After nineteen years, I decided I’d had enough of DEADLINES. I went back to school and became a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. I was hired by University Hospital in San Antonio for their Brain Injury Program. I’m retired now and for several years have been volunteering at the Dripping Springs Community Library and also with RED Arena (horse therapies for individuals with disabilities.)

You May Not Know: Dick and I are avid sailors. We bought our first boat in Annapolis and throughout the 1970s and 80s we teamed up to race small sailboats on many of the Central Texas lakes. We turned to coastal cruising in the mid-90s and kept a boat in Port Aransas for many years. While sailing the Intracoastal Waterway we saw an amazing variety of birds which we couldn’t identify. That’s when we purchased our first field guide. In 2000 our big adventure was crewing in a blue-water sailboat race between Port Aransas and Veracruz, Mexico—12 days down and back.

My Favorite Master Naturalist Activity: This year we helped build the new bird-viewing station at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park. It was a big job which involved many volunteers and generous financial donations. We will be keeping it stocked with birdseed.

Special Birding Moment: It’s migration season. I’m working outside and hear the distant flight calls of passing flocks. I drop everything and search the sky and watch until they disappear.

About Me:  I was born in Houston, but as the son of a Foreign Service officer I grew up in Norway, Cyprus, and Greece. Taking a break from college I joined the Army in 1967. After almost a year of training to become an intelligence case officer somewhere in Cold War Europe, the Army assigned me to a combat unit in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. There I recruited a network of Vietnamese informants to provide intel for my unit’s field operations. In two tours of duty with the 173rd Airborne Brigade I was awarded two Bronze Stars but the experience transformed me into a staunch anti-war advocate. Upon returning to college, I was fortunate to meet my future wife, Beth, on a blind date and we will soon celebrate our 49th anniversary. Throughout my 30-year federal career I investigated Social Security and Medicare fraud, followed by a stint with the Texas Attorney General’s office investigating Medicaid fraud.

 You May Not Know:  As a 19-year-old college student in the summer of 1964, my best buddy and I “crashed” the CIA headquarters in Langley, VA. As we approached the main gate my buddy saluted the guard and he waved us through. I parked my little Fiat sedan near the front door, next to stretch limos belonging to visiting VIPs, and we walked into the building. We wandered the halls, had lunch in the employee cafeteria, and weren’t apprehended until we walked into the personnel office and asked if they had any job vacancies. After an intense debriefing and a stern warning we were escorted off the premises. 

My Favorite Master Naturalist Activity:  I graduated in 2012 with the Live Oak class. Ever since I have filled and maintained the bird feeders and bird blind at Charro Ranch and have participated in a variety of Wimberley Outdoor Educators programs. I have also greatly enjoyed meeting and getting to know fellow MN members. What a great group of folks. 

Bird I Most Identify With:  Black Skimmers on the Gulf Coast, because of my fondness for sailing.