Remembering Dr. Keri Barber


Angela Leamon, Centurion Staff

One of Bucks’ Language and Literature Professors, Dr. Keri D. Barber, recently passed away at age 45.

Barber had been battling metastatic colon cancer for about 2.5 years. On Jan. 1, 2021, Dr. Barber’s fight with cancer ended. Her husband, Taliloa “Junior” M. Fuaau, was by her side until the end.

Barber was a loving (and loved) professor, daughter, sister, aunt,wife, and mother to her two cats, Leonard and Virginia. Being diagnosed with cancer helped her grow stronger connections with these people in her life as well as life itself.

Born in Lakewood, CA on July 1, 1975, Dr. Barber lived in California, Washington, Montana, Japan, and Pennsylvania.  She received her undergraduate degree from California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, her Masters from California State University, Los Angeles, and her PhD from the University of California, Riverside.

Dr. Barber’s greatest passions were academics, education, literature, travel, dining, family, and friends.  Her deepest intellectual passions were for classic feminist authors Virginia Woolf, Emily Bronte, and Mary Shelly. Dr. Barber would quote each with ease and explain each stanza with exquisite detail. She was an educator for 23 years and an English Literature and Composition Professor at Bucks for the last 12 years.

Nicole Tracey, the Dean of the Language and Literature department at Bucks, said, “All of us in the Language & Literature Department are deeply saddened by the loss of Dr. Barber. She was a dedicated teacher and wonderful colleague who was loved by her students. Dr. Barber brought an enthusiasm for teaching, a love for writing and literature, and a wonderful sense of humor to the classroom.”

At Bucks, Dr. Barber led many committees and assisted with the Student Research Conference every semester. She offered support to her fellow colleagues.

A close colleague and friend of Dr. Barber’s, Dr. Ethel Rackin, wrote a few words for a virtual faculty memorial held in Barber’s honor:

“Keri and I started at Bucks at the same time: August of 2010; we were in boot camp together—and I think both were feeling excited and bewildered by being the new kids on the block. Keri had just driven across the country at lightning speed with her sweet husband, Junior, and two cats. I quickly developed a deep admiration for Keri. I loved her sense of humor, her quick wit, the sparkle in her eyes, her strength, her decisiveness. She was brilliant in every sense of the word.”

Rackin added, “When we started teaching, my admiration only deepened. I could tell her students loved her. Once, I remember walking across campus and hearing a student yell (across Gallagher), Dr. Barber—you’re the best! She was stricter than I in her policies and it worked. The students respected her for it, learned a ton, and her popularity was earned.

“Socially, Keri was just as wonderful. She was so much fun, her laugh was infectious, she always had interesting things to say. We shared our experiences as we progressed in our time at Bucks, and I’m forever grateful for this wonderful colleague and friend.

“In her struggles the past two years, my admiration grew and grew. Her bravery, stamina, grace, and continuing love of life was incredibly inspiring. The way she cared for her friends as she was sick—always asking how we were doing and waiting to hear the answer—was remarkable. As devastated as we all are by her loss, I can only imagine that she’d want us to live more fully in order to honor her,” wrote Dr. Rackin.

The department is planning to dedicate a bench in Dr. Barber’s honor, with an on-campus ceremony to be held later this year. There are also plans for a student scholarship named after Barber.

“It is our hope the scholarship will be available soon enough for some of Dr. Barber’s own students to apply,” said Tracey.

Barber wished for no formal services to be held in her honor. Her husband and family will bury her in Lake Isabella, CA, with her late great-grandparents, William and Elizabeth Brady. She has been a beloved part of our college community and will continue to live in the hearts of her colleagues and students.

Donations can be made to the BCCC Foundation by check or credit. Checks should be made payable to the BCCC Foundation, earmarked for the Keri Barber fund, and mailed to BCCC Foundation, 275 Swamp Road, Newtown, PA, 18940. Donations can also be made online with a credit card here: Contact [email protected] if you need assistance with your donation.