Irving Jay Barrish, Ph.D. Overland Park, Kansas passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on Wednesday, February 7, 2007 after a courageous and inspiring battle with Pancreatic Cancer. Services will be held Friday, February 9, 2007 at 11:30am at Beth Torah Temple, 6100 W. 127th St. in Overland Park, Kansas followed by burial at Mt. Moriah Cemetary, 10507 Holmes Road in Kansas City, Missouri.

He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Barrish; mother, Betty Barrish Nadlman; and stepfather Charles Nadlman. He is survived by his wife of almost 40 years, Harriet H. Barrish, Ph.D.; son Brad Barrish of Venice, California; son, Jonas Barrish of Kansas City, Missouri; and daughter Brandy Barrish of Overland Park. He also leaves behind a wonderful extended family of cousins and many friends as well as his long-time colleague, Gerald H. Vandenberg, Ph.D., and his very special secretary of over twenty-six years, Jeanne Harmon.

Jay was born on September 11, 1945 in Kansas City, Missouri and attended Southwest High School. He received his B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Kansas. He was a well-known and respected psychologist in private practice in Leawood, Kansas. In addition to his practice, he taught over the years at a number of area universities, colleges, and hospitals including the University of Kansas, UMKC, Rockhurst, Ottawa University, Johnson County Community College and Shawnee Mission Medical Center. He also wrote numerous professional articles, consulted, presented papers, and co-authored two books with his wife. He was a Supervisor and Associate Fellow of the Albert Ellis Institute in New York. He was a pioneer in cognitive-behavioral psychology and one of the area’s early therapists to introduce behavioral and cognitive-behavioral psychology to the clinical setting. He belonged to numerous professional organizations and devoted his private time to his family and organizations that supported civil liberties, diversity, and social justice.

His passions included his family, his sons and daughter, his wife, his pets Brutus, Teddy and Kitty, grand-dogs, animals, sports, and gardening. He often fed, rescued and tended to a multitude of creatures. He loved working out, seeing friends, and was a proud vegetarian. He was an encyclopedia of sports facts, figures, and trivia. He loved to read for both pleasure and learning. He loved laughing at “Seinfeld” episodes and rockin’ to music in his car.

Jay was always available to family, friends, and clients for advice, support, and encouragement. He had a gift for socializing and getting to know people. Those who knew him were often amazed at how people gravitated to him and told them their life stories. He will be remembered and cherished for love, laughter, strength, support, counsel, intelligence, wisdom, commitment, and random acts of kindness. He was dearly loved and will be terribly missed by many, but will live on in their hearts and memories.

The family wishes to thank family and friends for all of their support, caring, and love; Dr. Robert Belt, Laura, Cathy, and the rest of the wonderful staff at The Kansas City Cancer Center; Dr. John Helzberg; Johns Hopkins University; The University of Chicago; Kansas City Hospice and Palliative Care; and Rabbi Mark Levin.

In Lieu of flowers, contributions are suggested to PanCAN, Congregation Beth Torah Social Justice Committee, Operation WildLife, Harvesters, The Humane Society of Greater Kansas City – Gabriel’s Fund, or an organization or charity of your choice.

8 thoughts on “Obituary”

  1. My deepest condolences, Brad. Just having gotten net access last night, I started catching up on your blog. I’m still in Colorado, and heading home tonight, and as I read your blog, tears are welling up and I feel your pain and what your family is going through. Be well, and live on with strength.

  2. Dear Brad,
    This is the most beautiful obituary I have ever read. God bless you and your family and may the coming days bring you peace. Roger and I wish you “long life”. We look forward to your return home.
    Much Love,

  3. Brad,

    Your dad sounded like an amazing man. From everything I’ve heard about your family and also know about you, he did an amazing job raising you all.
    My prayers go out to you and your family.
    I will be thinking about you.

    P.s. This is a beautiful piece.

    Much much love,

  4. I’m sorry for your loss Brad. Your father was clearly a Renaissance man whose genes – and passion – live on in his children.

  5. Brad:

    I hope you don’t find this an intrusion, but I came across this site when “Googling” for news on Jay. I developed a friendship with your father at PLC a number of years ago and, at times, visited with him in his professional capacity. All I can do is echo the words of so many: Your dad was, and will continue to be through those he touched, a source of strength, compassion, empowerment, and perhaps most appropriately, hope.


  6. Brad,
    Thank you for sharing your amazing Obituary for you Dad. I knew him because he was my brother’s closest friend and he spent many hours in our home as they grew up in Kansas City. I was so saddened to hear of Jay’s battle with cancer… and I am not surprised in the least that he died with the same integrity that he lived. My very best to you and your Mom and siblings. While there is little that I can say or do for all of you at this time, know that your words have touched me very deeply when I too am experiencing a deep loss with your Father’s passing.

    With great love,
    Shelley Orren-King
    (Gary Orren’s Sister)

  7. Brad, I just found out about your dad’s passing today. Jay was my counselor when I was living in Kansas City many years ago. His guidance changed my life and he will be truly missed.
    My condolences to you and your family.

  8. Dear Brad,

    I recently was told of your father’s passing and wanted to extend my thoughts and prayers to you and your family. I ran into your parents, Jonas, and Brandy last September during the Plaza Art Fair. Your dad was very proud of his children and their accomplishments. He will always be a part of my cherished memories.

    Miss Erlandson

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