Barry Rubin passed away earlier this year on Feb 3, 2014.
2003 was a hallmark year for me in my research on the Georgetown Branch. Up until that point, I had spent much of my time hunting around online for Sanborn maps, looking at old aerial photos and maps of the line, trying to decode the various phases and stages of the construction of the line. Unraveling the mystery, as I like to say, which I still am doing to this day. Around this time I became involved with the B&O RR Historical Society and joined the popular related Yahoo group. Worlds opened as I met many new B&O enthusiasts eager to share information, ideas and recollections. I had members mailing me photos, form 6’s, maps, drawings and other pieces of data that I had never seen. The web was growing.
One day I heard that there was a B&ORRHS member, Duane Carrell, who was planning on writing an article about the Georgetown Branch. Imagine my excitement. I mean, here I was, trying as hard as I could to dig up information on the line, and there was another nut just like me who was writing an article about it! I was thrilled. Then came the emails that really locked everything in for me. Barry Rubin, who at the time was involved with the Society, decided that with all the interest in the Georgetown Branch, perhaps we should have a get-together, a sort of meet-and-greet. He offered up his house as a location and we put it on the books.
On a very cold January morning, I showed up not knowing what I’d find or who I’d meet, or that it would be the seminal turning point for opening up my eyes to the depth of the history of the Branch. Duane, who was writing the article, showed up and brought with him all of his source materials. There were original track chart blueprints, maps, huge collections of black and white photos, overhead aerials, notes, and a variety of other plans and documents. ALL about the Georgetown Branch. I was just overwhelmed with excitement and remember poring over each and every page and photo, knowing that none of these were going home with me so I had better soak it all up now.
Barry then led us, caravan style, from his home in Chevy Chase down to Bethesda, where we parked at River Rd. and walked a short distance both North and South down the old right-of-way, describing track alignments, old buildings that remained, remnants of sidings and ghosts of operations gone by. We had a GREAT time and we all became friends as we shared in an enthusiasm for this little old railroad branch line.
Barry was the impetus for that meet-up. He took the time to get everyone together, offering his house and his leadership. He did so much outside of this silly little meeting, but for me it was one of the most important in my quest as a historian and a fan of the Georgetown Branch, the B&O and the people of the B&ORRHS. It’s the people that I meet, who put in time and effort to share and foster that energy and excitement that carries the legacy of the B&O on for future generations to enjoy and discover. For this, I thank you, Barry. Safe home.
Duane Carrell wrote the following obituary on the B&ORRHS Yahoo Group:
I wanted to let the members of the chat know that Barry Rubin, titular editor of the Sentinel, passed away this morning in Tel Aviv. He had been fighting cancer for over a year-and-a-half.
I met Barry when we entered 7th grade in 1961 at Alice Deal Jr. High in Washington and we became fast friends in the ninth grade when we discovered that we each had an interest in railroads. I was with him when he bought his first train set in downtown Washington on the day that President Kennedy was assassinated. A year later we joined the Rockville Society of Model Engineers and his father often drove us to meetings. By our senior year our interests had diverged somewhat although we remained friends. He went to Georgetown Univ. and became a history professor and also worked for the Democrats in the U.S. Senate. I saw him briefly at our 20th high school reunion in 1987 and then lost touch for another 14 years. In the meantime he had developed a deep interest in Israel and Mideast affairs and moved to Tel Aviv, although he kept a residence in Chevy Chase for lengthy visits here. In 2001 I happened to see his name in the masthead of the Sentinel as the editor, wondered if it could be the same person and emailed him. Lo and behold it was and we re-kindled a long-dormant friendship and became very close. It was Barry who made me aware of the yahoo group and encouraged me to write for the Sentinel. And, as history sometimes repeats itself, Barry took part in his first Civil War reenactment with me three years ago in Olustee, Florida.
Barry became an authority on Middle East Affairs, founded the Global Research in International Affairs Center, wrote close to 20 books – most on the Middle East – and traveled the world, speaking to government and private groups about the state of the Middle East. He was extremely professional in his analysis and did not let his opinions get in the way of the facts. He did not back away from stating the truth and made some enemies for it.
He was diagnosed with cancer in July, 2012, appeared to be beating it and more appeared in recent months. He married somewhat late in life and leaves his wife, Judy, an 18-year old daughter who is performing public service in Israel and a 14-year-old son. I have no word on funeral arrangements yet.
He will be missed.