Robert James Bakula
November 29, 1932 - August 4, 2017
Robert James “Jim” Bakula was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was the eldest of four children born to Robert James and Evelyn Bakula: his twin sisters Barbara and Nancy, and the youngest, Bonny. They lived in Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, and West Bend, Wisconsin.
Jim was a Korean War veteran in the Air Force who served as an air traffic controller in Tokyo. He attended Carroll College and then worked in sales for the Milwaukee Gas company and a large printing firm. In 1960 he married Joann, a class mate of his younger twin sisters. A few years later after a ski trip they moved to Aspen, Colorado where they worked for the Aspen Ski Corp. Jim was on the ski patrol and Joann was a ski instructor. There they meditated on how best to contribute to the psychological and spiritual growth of humanity and decided to open a bookstore in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida, a warmer climate. The book center offered books on meditation from many different traditions: Hinduism, Mahayana and Zen Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Sufism, the theosophical and esoteric traditions; books on the whole earth; the collected works of psychologists Carl Jung and Abraham Maslow, and others in humanistic psychology; Tolkien and science fiction; astronomy and astrology; and related metaphysical works. These books were the guides and companions throughout their lives. They built a 40 ft. trimaran, ketch rigged, and lived at Dinner Key marina during those years while Joann finished her Ph.D. in psychology. Jim was a Miami police officer and then worked as a private contractor and carpenter.
Jim was a frequent speaker on local radio programs in Miami and co-spoke with Joann at an Association for Humanistic Psychology annual conference at Princeton University the year that Carl Rogers was the keynote speaker and Joseph Campbell and Sam Keen were secondary keynote speakers. She taught at Florida International University and part time at the University of Miami and Miami-Dade College.
They had always planned on moving to the west coast eventually to experience more of the natural beauty and culture of the USA. Driving across this beautiful country from the mountains to the sea was one of their great pleasures. After the divorce, they still traveled together to California and then to Ashland, Oregon, where Jim—now retired—crafted pagoda-roofed bird feeders made of incense cedar and Joann taught at Southern Oregon University. They held monthly public meditation meetings in Neal Donald Walsch’s center at the time in Ashland.
They moved to Sedona in 2004 and especially enjoyed the year-round hiking here in monumental Red Rock country. The Coconino forest was in their backyard and trails were accessible right from the back door in their house in the Village of Oak Creek. Jim then moved to an assisted living apartment in Camp Verde where he created “Jim’s park” with several walkways, chairs, and stone arrangements, trees and bushes, now enjoyed by all of the residents. He left many journals, drawings, “mind pictures”, and paintings. He had special qualities of wisdom and will be missed by his ex-wife, Joann S. Bakula, his sisters, and his friends in Sedona and Camp Verde. He is survived by his ex-wife Joann, his sisters Barbara and Bonny, their husbands, and his niece and four nephews. They had no children. A memorial service will be held on Friday, August 25, at 1:00 at the Verde Valley Senior apartments in Camp Verde.
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