Rudy was born in Los Angeles, CA, on May 9, 1943, a wonderful Mother’s Day gift to his parents, Sam and Cecile Barchas. The 5th of 8 children, Rudy was often a mediator growing up and got along with everyone in the family. When he was 12, he spent a year in a boarding school in Switzerland, which whetted his appetite for foreign travel. Later, while a student at Antioch College, he studied abroad in Italy and “hitchhiked” back the long way, through Eastern Europe and Russia. He made friends everywhere he went and was often invited to stay with them in a variety of countries. When he was short of funds, he cashed in his highly prized Levis for the next leg of his journey. It isn’t surprising that, as an adult, Rudy loved to travel and explore the world. He also loved science, especially astronomy, and if he had been born in another time and with better health, he would have been first in line for a mission to Mars.
In 1968, Rudy married Jeanne Bullock. He graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1969, and he and Jeanne moved to Twin Falls, ID, where he joined a law practice. After 5 years, they decided to settle in Boise, where Rudy was the first head of the Consumer Protection Division of the Idaho Attorney General’s office and then a private practitioner again. Rudy had taken and passed the California, Colorado and Idaho bar exams to keep his options open, but never left Idaho. He and Jeanne had four children, and Rudy threw himself into being a dad. He changed diapers back when few men did, and cracked his children up with funny voices and silly dad jokes. He shared his love of travel with his children, taking them one at a time to Europe for a coming-of-age trip. He has a train enthusiast and a connoisseur of chocolate chip cookies, sometimes sampling as many as six at a time to make sure he fully appreciated their richness. He could do lengthy math problems in his head. He was passionate about classical music and rarely missed a performance at the Boise Philharmonic, even when his health declined. Rudy was an excellent writer and public speaker, and his wedding toasts were legendary for not leaving a dry eye in the house.
When Rudy was 39, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Over the years, it slowed him down but never robbed him of his exuberance and taste for adventure. He continued to travel internationally, enjoyed rafting down the Boise River and went sky diving when he was 67. He had an irrepressible optimism about what he could accomplish if he put his mind to it, and there wasn’t a person who got to know him who wasn’t inspired by his zest for life and can-do spirit in the face of adversity. He participated in experimental treatments for Parkinson’s, and his brain has been donated to the University of Colorado to extend scientific research into the disease.
Rudy was preceded in death by his parents and a son, Joshua Daniel, who died at birth. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Jeanne; his children, Eric Barchas (Denise), Leah Nicholas (Brent Hardt), and Elizabeth Barchas Prelogar (Brandon); and three grandsons, Taylor Nicholas, Blaise Prelogar, and Beckett Prelogar. He is also survived by his seven brothers and sisters, their spouses, and many nieces and nephews.