In Memoriam: Robert C. Barnum
October 27, 1921 - October 23, 2016
Robert C. Barnum Jr., Co-Founder of Ivey, Barnum, and O'Mara, LLC, passed away peacefully at home on October 23, 2016 in Stamford, CT, just four days shy of his 95th birthday.
Born in New York City, Robert was the first son of Marjorie Woods Barnum and Robert C. Barnum. His siblings, twin brothers, were born five years later. After moving to Riverside in 1930, he attended the Sound Beach School until Riverside School was built. He graduated from Riverside School in 1935 and from the Edgewood School in Greenwich in 1939. In the 1930s, he was a founding member of the Riverside Junior Yacht Club, was active in racing the first Riverside Yacht Club dinghies and represented the Riverside Yacht Club in the Long Island Sound Junior Championship series in 1937.
He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1942 and then joined the Navy, serving for three years during World War II. After midshipman school, he served in the Atlantic on the SC 1337, then in the South Pacific as Gunnery Officer on the PCE(R) 848, which had a crew of 100 men and 12 officers. She was active on the New Guinea coast and later in the original invasions of Leyte and Linguyan in the Philippines. His ship was severely damaged with the loss of many men following a Japanese bombing in Leyte Gulf for which they received a Unit Citation. Also in Leyte Gulf, the ship was grounded in a typhoon. Later, at age 23, he was in command of the PCE 891 and was discharged as a Lieutenant in December 1945.
After the war, he attended Cornell Law School, graduating in 1948 "with distinction". He then practiced law with Wake and See in Westport and joined Tunick and Ferris in Greenwich in 1949. In 1950, he founded Ivey, Barnum and O'Mara with Arthur Ivey and Edwin J. O'Mara, both of whom predeceased him. The firm was all-consuming and he helped to build it to be the largest Greenwich-based law firm with 32 attorneys. He practiced for 68 years, retiring in 2009.
He was married to Marion Faxon, who predeceased him. In 1972, he married Joan Dursthoff Morrison, with whom he lived very happily in Riverside for many years before moving to Edgehill in Stamford in 2003. They also enjoyed spending the summers and gathering friends and family in the Rackliff Island home they built on the coast of Maine.
He was active with numerous professional and civic groups including Greenwich Council of Girl Scouts, the Greenwich Representative Town meeting for 25 years as Chairman of the Riverside District and moderator pro tem for 15 years. He was also active as a director of Meals on Wheels for many years. He served as the Chairman of three separate Town of Greenwich Charter Revision Commissions during the 1970s and 1980s and was responsible for several Charter changes including making the office of the First Selectman a full-time position. He also served for 11 years on the Greenwich Board of Health, and Chairman of the Greenwich Flood and Erosion Control Board and Director of the Greenwich Land Trust both for 9 years.
He and his wife Joan were active cruising sailors of the Riverside Yacht Club, which he had joined as a Junior Member through his parents in 1934. He was an Active Member since 1954 and at his death, he was an Honorary Member. He served as Secretary and then through the "Chairs" to Commodore from 1981-1983. He later received the Club's highest award, the Trenary Trophy, in 1985. He also served as Chairman of the Club's Centennial Celebration in 1988.
He was a member of the Riverside Reading Room, the Greenwich Horseneck Club which he served as President and the Greenwich Harpoon Club, serving as a director for many years. He thoroughly enjoyed his monthly dinner group, the "Townies," of which he was a longtime member. His professional life included membership in the Greenwich Bar Association which he served as President, the Connecticut Bar Association and the American Bar Association. He also was elected a life member of the Connecticut Bar Foundation.