Peter Barton, president of Liberty Media, board member of numerous Fortune 500 corporations, husband, and father of three co-authored his life story as equal parts triumph and tragedy. Barton looked back on the stages of his life that helped form the man he became: Citing his fathers early death of a heart attack at age forty-five, jamming on keyboards at the Apollo Theater in the 1960's while playing in an early version of the band that would become famous as Sha-Na-Na, dropping out of the International Business program at Columbia just a few credits shy of his masters degree, becoming a ski bum for one season in the Colorado Rockies, working as a political campaign manager in Washington, DC, acting as staff person for Governor Hugh Carey of NY in the 1970's, graduating from Harvard Business School before eventually helping turn Midwestern cable company, TCI, into a media giant. Barton retired at age forty six, relieved to have surpassed the age at which his father succumbed to heart disease only to learn a year later he had stomach cancer.
He separated the physical pain of cancer from its clarifying effects, using the remaining months of his life to reflect on spirituality and the immediate priorities of his family. By Barton's own account his death by stomach cancer at the age of fifty-one is bittersweet. He reflects on the moments of joy and sadness in his life, achieving peace and serenity as he faces his inevitable fate. He felt that cancer, although it had cut short his life and the time he had left to spend with his wife and family, had taught him humility, compassion, and empathy; emotions he rarely acknowledged prior to his terminal illness.
This report prepared by David Fletcher