Remembering Hal Conklin, 1945-2021

Remembering Hal Conklin, 1945-2021 title=
Hal Conklin (courtesy photo)
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By Jerry Roberts of Newsmakers

Hal Conklin was a great man -- a gifted political leader, passionate environmentalist, dedicated champion of the arts, economic visionary and true community hero.

His love for Santa Barbara and concern for its future were constant and authentic, and the lasting influence of the former Mayor and longtime City Council member may be found throughout the city, from Stearns Wharf to Paseo Nuevo and the Arts District to the Granada Theatre, not to mention Common Table community dinners on State Street and beyond.

"We love Hal because he was a seeker," is how the Capps family, with whom he worked on many campaigns and projects, described him. "His inquisitive, hopeful, and open mind and heart led him to foster connections, build community, and be guided by compassion."

"Our hearts are heavy with the passing of our long-time family friend...yet we are buoyed by the inspiration of such a life lived so fully, graciously, and spiritually grounded," they said.

A few months ago, Newsmakers was privileged and delighted to have the opportunity for an extended conversation with Hal, his first full-length interview since he had fallen ill last summer, and one of the final in-depth published records of his thoughts on the state of the city and about its future:

"I have re-engaged in a lot of conversations in the community about where the community could go, and I've been asked to head up a lot of conversations about where the community could go," he told Newsmakers this week.

"And in some respects it's like being the mayor without being the mayor," he added with a smile.

Today, we're re-publishing that interview, both to honor one of Santa Barbara's most caring, involved compassionate and distinguished citizens, whose personal values matched his public persona and pronouncements, and to remember his enduring spirit and zest for life.

As he said back in February, "I have nothing but gratitude at this point."

Rest In Peace, Hal.

Watch our interview with Hal Conklin via YouTube below or by clicking through this link. The podcast version is here,

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Minibeast May 22, 2021 05:24 PM
Remembering Hal Conklin, 1945-2021

Hal Conklin cared about Santa Barbara. Much respect for him. Sad to learn of his demise. Santa Barbara has lost one of her true champions.

mtndriver May 22, 2021 06:31 PM
Remembering Hal Conklin, 1945-2021

Huge loss for sure. Who is there like him now on the city scene? He saw the big picture, and how the details really count in achieving the big picture. He cared about the whole city, not just some faction. And he was effective!

bornatcottageho... May 22, 2021 07:37 PM
Remembering Hal Conklin, 1945-2021

Who is on the scene? LOL. Cathy Murllo and the pseudo environmental friendly BMW X3 driving Phish fans.

Kew May 22, 2021 07:14 PM
Remembering Hal Conklin, 1945-2021

I used to work with Hal in 1974 at the Community Environmental Council (then located at 15 West Anapamu St.) My heart aches. Rest in peace, Hal.

photodude May 23, 2021 08:38 AM
Remembering Hal Conklin, 1945-2021

The Santa Barbara Theatre Organ Society (SBTOS) is forever indebted to Hal Conklin. He was a kingpin and founding member of SBTOS. He enabled the Great Theatre Pipe Organ of the Arlington to be acquired from a storage warehouse in Texas and moved to Santa Barbara in 1986 (all 20-tons and 7000 moving parts).

SBTOS spent over 37,000 volunteer hours refurbishing the organ from 1986 to 1988, and the first public performance was on 1 October 1988 with 2/3's of the organ operational.

Yesterday's free theatre pipe organ concert at the Arlington with Adam Aceto was dedicated to Hal Conklin.

Hal was on our Board of Directors, and will be sorely missed. Good bye old friend. Rest in peace.

Information on SBTOS is available on our website: SBTOS.ORG.

a-1621785773 May 23, 2021 09:02 AM
Remembering Hal Conklin, 1945-2021

I’m so sorry that his last day on earth was complicated by that fool arson causing Serenity House to be evacuated.

Lew Riffle May 23, 2021 01:49 PM
Remembering Hal Conklin, 1945-2021

Was proud to know him. Taught me a lot about compromise and being able to question one's beliefs without sacrificing them.

Tomr May 26, 2021 05:00 PM
Remembering Hal Conklin, 1945-2021

Shocked and saddened by the news. It was an honor and a privilege to serve with, and learn from, Hal. Santa Barbara owes him much.

Tom Roberts
Former Member of the Santa Barbara City Council

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