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Will Barkley

Thursday, June 3, 2021
Will Barkley

William Gregg Barkley, 35, lost his long, hard-fought battle with anxiety/depression on March 11, 2021, in El Prado, New Mexico.

An informal outdoor memorial service celebrating Will’s life will be held in Taos, New Mexico, Saturday, June 5, at 2 p.m MST.

A second memorial service will be held in Carrollton Saturday, June 19, at 2 p.m at Holy Covenant United Methodist Church, 1901 Peters Colony Road, Carrollton. This service will also be live-streamed at

Known for his grit and determination, Will left a legacy of generosity and kindness while confronting the many obstacles that life presented him.

Born March 20, 1985, in Dallas, Will arrived nine weeks ahead of schedule weighing only two pounds 13 ounces. His heart and strength, which helped him survive those first six weeks in the NICU, would bely his small physical stature throughout his life.

His curiosity and daring also served as seminal character traits as was demonstrated when his family discovered him at age two atop the roof of his house via an unattended ladder, an early precursor as to how he would lead his life.

Like many kids raised in Carrollton during the late ’80s and early ’90s, Will grew up on a steady dose of Star Wars, X-Men and Animaniacs, with the prior two shaping a voracious future appetite for sci-fi books.

Trampolined evenings in the backyard with his dog, Shiloh, and a montage of Boy Scout High Adventure trips, basketball, baseball and soccer leagues and family vacations peppered his younger years.

His high school years centered around attaining his Eagle Scout Award and a variety of mission trips and ski trips with his church youth group.

But it was high school wrestling where Will found a discipline that paralleled his mental and physical gifts. His four years lettering in wrestling inspired his life-long passion for jiu jitsu and MMA, as well as his avidly following the UFC.

As with most of us, Will’s 20s were a search for self and soul. You could have found him living at 10,000 feet in an A-frame cabin outside Taos with his cat Bailey, enduring foot after foot of winter snow.

Later he earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.

He would ultimately close out that decade of his life in Portland, Oregon, appreciating his employment and enjoying relationships with his work fam.

His off-time was spent exploring the Pacific Northwest’s mountainous streams and waterways with his Tenkara rod or his hiking boots or meeting his brother at Anna Bannana’s for misty talks about life over Italian-style macchiatos.

Riding in his trusty Jeep Liberty during these years, he treated himself to his musical faves such as Explosions in the Sky, Moby, 311, Tool, Interpol, Radiohead, Thievery Corp and Tycho – all but one of which he saw live in concert at venues like Red Rocks in Denver or the Crystal Ballroom in PDX. His favorite show of all time was The Appleseed Cast’s Low Level Owl 10th Anniversary Tour.

Spending his final years back in Taos, Will completed his hours to become well versed in low-voltage electrical installations and applications. In his spare time, he often counseled his friends during their life challenges, earning a reputation for a wry sense of humor, for being warm (but frank), and ultimately preaching a reality-based positivity above all.

His search for peace evolved as he learned to draw zentangles, listened to late-night psychology podcasts or to any scientist on the “Joe Rogan Experience.”

He believed strongly in science and research, reading about clinical psychology, neuroscience and mental health, while balancing the cerebral with physical fitness and new weight training programs. That isn’t to say, though, he wasn’t above eating gummy bears and a Snickers and pounding a Red Bull for lunch.

Will’s continued quest to find serenity in his life revealed itself at its apex in his love of fly fishing. To Will, it didn’t matter if he caught a fish, though he enjoyed it when he did – but then he would always release it back into the stream. And though his friends were especially important to him, he spent most of his time fishing by himself alone with his thoughts and moods, his musings and considerations, his ponderings about the universe and existence.

Will is survived by and forever missed by his parents, Hal and Vicki Barkley; his brother and sister-in-law, Brent and Jamie Barkley; his grandfather, Bill H. Barkley Sr.; and dozens of aunts, uncles, cousins and their families.

Memorial donations may be made to Hope for Depression,, or Stray Hearts Taos Animal Shelter,

Arrangements by Rivera Family Funeral Home.