Dr. Joseph Paul BarankinDear Colleagues – It is with great sadness to report the passing of Dr. Joseph Paul Barankin, husband and love of her life to Catherine Barankin, Executive Director, CA Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health.

Joe passed away quietly at his home Thursday, August 15, 2019. He was a true renaissance man, and great champion for the children and youth of California. He was far more than his long 30+ career (1973-2006) at the California Department of Education as Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction.


Among the many benefits California and children received from Joe was as one of the founders of the Sacramento Boys and Girls Clubs, and in lieu of flowers you can contribute to the Sacramento Boys and Girls Clubs at https://bgcsac.org/how-to-help/careers.html.


His much more personal Obituary is attached. The families memorial service is announced in the Obituary, and when a celebration of his life event is announced we will pass on that information.


Joe was a mentor, grant writing teacher and colleague who will be greatly missed.


Cards of sympathy and love can be sent to Cathy and his family at: 6100 Pirate Point Court, Elk Grove, CA 94758

Obituary for Dr. Joseph Paul Barankin

Dr. Joseph Paul Barankin passed quietly at his home on August 15, 2019.  Joe was a teacher, zealous advocate for children, cowboy, conservationist, musician, restauranteur, world traveler, and unconditional friend who touched the lives of so many.  Joe dedicated his life to education.  Whether it was family, friends, students, patrons, or a passerby on the street, Joe believed they had something to teach him, and he something to offer them.

His love of learning started early.  Joe was the child of two professors. A graduate of El Cerrito High School and San Francisco State University, he also earned a Ph.D. in Human Behavior and numerous teaching credentials.

Joe studied abroad in France and Japan, was fluent in three languages and semi-literate in numerous others. In addition to serving as unpaid tutor to his children, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends, his professional teaching experience included the National Postal Ministry of Japan, John F. Kennedy University in Martinez, San Francisco State University, Berkeley’s University of California Extension, and National University.

Joe was talented, creative, and had an insatiable appetite for knowledge.  He took piano lessons as a child but preferred to play songs by ear rather than read music.  He was a masterful self-taught acoustic guitar player.  And his library is the envy of bibliophiles.

Joe loved life and extracted every ounce of enjoyment he could from it.  He traveled extensively, domestically and abroad.  He savored whiskeys, fine wines, and canned beers with equal relish – so long as he could share them with loved ones and friends.  And Joe was truly in his element when entertaining and bbq’ing for a crowd.

Joe wasn’t born into an outdoors family, but he created one.  He backpacked in the desolation wilderness as a young man and passed along his love of nature to his children at the Lake of the Woods.  He fancied himself something of a fisherman, revered wildlife of all kinds, and loved nothing more than spending a weekend with friends and family at their home on the Mokelumne River.

As a father, Joe defined the word “present.”  He was a fixture at his children’s sporting events, regularly volunteered as a coach or swim meet starter, never missed a musical or artistic performance, and engaged with teachers and coaches alike.  His love for children and helping them develop their full potential was his life’s work, exemplified in part by his decision to become a founding Board Member of the Sacramento Boys & Girls Club.

With the exception of billiards, few would confuse Joe with a world-class athlete.  But he was a fierce competitor on the recreational basketball court, softball field, and the occasional golf course.  He and his brother could execute a flawless pick and roll.   And there are few fans of the Sacramento Kings and San Francisco 49ers more devoted than Joe Barankin.

Joe is survived by the love of his life, his wife, Catherine.  It was rare for you to see Cathy or Joe without the other.  Joe is also survived by his son Nathan (Ann) and granddaughters Harper and Chloe, son Micha (Bea), and step-sons Barrett Sizemore (Sarah) and Phillip Nails (Elisabeth).

A memorial service will be held at West Point Cemetery at 1:00 pm on Sunday, August 18, to be followed by a reception celebrating Joe’s life at the Academy Club in West Point, CA.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made to the Sacramento Boys & Girls Club.