Barcomb, Earl H.
Earl H. Barcomb was born in 1943, the son of Earl Barcomb and the late Katherine Falvey Barcomb. Born in Holyoke, Mass., he was raised in Mountain View, N.Y.
He was on Knox’s zoning board of appeals for 25 years, much of which he spent as chairman before stepping down in April. Mr. Barcomb retired from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 2001, but returned to work for the State Emergency Management Office after 9/11. He had worked part-time for SEMO ever since.
For four years, he was on active duty in the Air Force. Subsequently, he said, he served in the Air Force Reserve and retired as a colonel.
Marriage & Children
Earl Barcomb married Wendy Barcomb. Their children were:
- Earl Barcomb and his wife, Jessica
- Daniel Barcomb and his wife, Catherine
- Nathan Barcomb and his wife, Carolyn
- Eleanor Barcomb and her husband, James
On Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008, he died at his home in Knox.
Earl H. Barcomb
KNOX — Earl H. Barcomb was an Air Force colonel and an environmental engineer who loved his family and the town of Knox.
On Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008, he died at his home in Knox. He was 65 years old, the son of Earl Barcomb and the late Katherine Falvey Barcomb. Born in Holyoke, Mass., he was raised in Mountain View, N.Y.
“He was a kind and gentle guy, and he had a wonderful sense of humor — devilish almost,” said Wendy Barcomb, his wife of 43 years. “But he helped a lot of people and didn’t make a big deal out of it,” she said.
“We love living here, and, when we turned the farm over to our son and his family, it was important for us to stay within the town of Knox,” Mr. Barcomb said in April.
He was on Knox’s zoning board of appeals for 25 years, much of which he spent as chairman before stepping down in April.
“I wanted to be involved with this community and to work to keep it as special as it is,” Mr. Barcomb said shortly after retiring from the board. “It is an important board, and it must be careful to adhere to our legal framework,” he said.
“He really liked working on the ZBA,” his wife said. “He liked the legal aspects, working with neighbors, making sure the town was protected legally.”
Mr. Barcomb retired from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 2001, but returned to work for the State Emergency Management Office after 9/11. He had worked part-time for SEMO ever since.
He met his wife while in college at the University of Buffalo. “We started dating immediately,” she said. They were out with mutual friends for pizza and drinks. It was her 19th birthday. They would be married on her 22nd.
They loved to travel, seeing Europe, Australia, and Africa during their life together. They also traveled to Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan during his service in the Air Force. During this time, they lived in Guam, where they had their first son, Earl.
“He used to bow hunt,” Mrs. Barcomb said. “He absolutely loved family gatherings, too.” He loved chess, playing cards, and his dog, Molly.
“We had a wonderful life together,” Mrs. Barcomb said. “We were very lucky for that.”
Earl Barcomb is survived by his wife, Wendy Barcomb and his father, Earl Barcomb.
He is also survived by his children: Earl Barcomb and his wife, Jessica; Daniel Barcomb and his wife, Catherine; Nathan Barcomb and his wife, Carolyn; Eleanor Barcomb and her husband, James; and his grandchildren: Earl, Sophia, Daniel, Hannah, Phoebe, Alice, Owen, and Calvin.
He is survived, too, by his sisters: Nancy Dolland and her husband, John; Amanda Barcomb; and three nieces.
The family sends a special thanks to Dr. Ronald Stram, nurse April Bruzdzinski, the Center for Integrative Health and Healing in Delmar, and to Community Hospice in Schenectady.
A memorial mass was held Saturday, Nov. 1, at St. Lucy’s Church in Altamont. Arranggements were made by the Fredendall Funerall Home in Altamont.
— Zach Simeone
- Altamont Enterprise - November 6, 2008
End of Era
Barcomb steps down as Knox zoning chair
By Tyler Schilling
KNOX—Earl Barcomb chaired the town's zoning board with the precision of an engineer and the empathy of a man who knows how to listen.
After 25 years on the zoning board, using his skills to carefully marshal evidence and avoid the pitfalls that fuel contention, he has stepped down.
Barcomb said the most challenging aspect of serving on the board was helping members of the community with opposing views to listen to each other and come together for a solution that is acceptable for both within the legal framework for the town.
The most controversial, he said, was the Patriarch application for a drug treatment facility.
Rarcomb listed a number of reasons for his resignation. He must attend to current health issues; he and his wife travel a great deal,and enjoy it immensely; and he has been away too much to effectively serve as the board's chairman.
"I have enjoyed working on the ZBA very much," he said. "I wanted to be involved with this community and to work to keep it as special as it is."
Barcomb grew up in the North Ceuntry, in Mountain View, a small community in the Adirondacks. For four years, he was on active duty in the Air Force. Subsequently, he said,he served in the Air Force Reserve and retired as a colonel. He then moved to the Capital District and lived in McKownville for several years.
In 1978, he and his wife, Wendy, whom he has been married to for almost 43 years,. moved to their farm on Craven Road in Knox. They have four children, and their oldest serves on Knox's Conservation Advisory Council and now lives oh their old farm.
The Barcombs built a smaller house, also in Knox, where they have lived for five years. "We love living here, and, when we turned the farm over to our son and his family, it was important for us to stay within the town of Knox," Barcomb said.
For over 30 years, he worked for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation . as an engineer in environmental engineering and management.
"I retired in 2001, then went, back to work after the 9/11 tragedy to assist the State Emergency Management Office in New York City," Barcomb said. "I have since worked part-time for SEMO on other projects."
Looking back and forward
Twenty-five.years ago, Barcomb was asked by Dana Sherman, a neighbor of his who was serving on the town board at the time, to serve on Knox's zoning board. Years later, he served as the chair of the town's master plan committee.
"The committee comprised a large and talented group of Knox citizens, and, with the support of the Knox Town Board, the plan was developed and approved," Barcomb said.
In conjunction with the master plan, he said, the zoning law is the town's guide to its future development.
He quoted the town's zoning ordinance. "The objective of this ordinance is to promote the health, safety, and general welfare pf the Town of Knox, to provide for the protection and preservation, of clean air, water and soil, to avoid undue concentrations of population, to facilitate the adequate provision of transportation, water, sewer, schools, parks, and other requirements as may become necessary from time to time." Barcomb said the law promotes consistency of property use in each zoning district and provides protection to residents and property owners from the adverse consequences of undesirable development.
An important function of the ZBA, he said, is to interpret the ordinance as it relates to hardships, unusual circumstances, and those situations that are only vaguely addressed in the ordinance. "The ZBA," Barcomb said, "is very careful to not grant changes without proper foundation and to not set bad precedents, so as not to make the zoning law meaningless."'.
"I wanted to be involved with this community and to work to keep it as special as it is."
Barcomb said of his successor, Bob Edwards, who was appointed as the new chair last month, "He is an excellent choice and will do well in this new role. He is careful, fair, mindful of the legal requirements of the zoning ordinance, and considerate of the people he deals with. He has an excellent board to work with. He understands what the ZBA's role is, and how it should accomplish its tasks."
And what's in store for Barcomb now?
"We will continue to enjoy our family, our neighbors, and community and hope to do a lot more traveling," he said. "We are fortunate tp have been able to see many interesting places in the World, but there are a lot more on our travel list. We al30 tike tp spend time in the Adirondacks, visiting family members there, and staying at our camp in Mountain View."
— photo provided by Wendy Barcomb Stepping down after a quarter-century: Earl Barcomb served on Knox's zoning board of appeals for 25 years, much of that, time as the board's chairman. He recently resigned- "If is an important board, and it must be careful to adhere to our legal framework. This is important to the town," he said. "I have very much enjoyed this legal aspect, and. I also have enjoyed working with board members, past arid present. We have a very fine board with excellent, qualified members."
- Altamont Enterprise - Thursday, May 1,2008