Barbara  Aldave

Obituary of Barbara Lynn Bader Aldave

Barbara Lynn Bader Aldave died peacefully on May 23, 2023, in Eugene, Oregon. She was 84 years old.


Barbara was born on December 28, 1938, in Puyallup, Washington, to Patricia and Fred Bader. Barbara grew up in the company of two brothers, Fred ("Rusty") and Gregory ("Greg") Bader, and her beloved grandparents, Winnie and JB Burns. Winnie recognized a kindred strong spirit in Barbara and repeatedly told her that she could do anything she wanted to do. She showed an aptitude in math and science, as well as in debate, earning the nickname “Bader the Debater” in high school. 


In 1956, Barbara graduated as valedictorian of her class at Puyallup High School, and appeared in Life Magazine as the recipient of the General Foods and National Merit Scholarships, choosing to attend Stanford University in Chemistry. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in 1960 and worked for a time as a chemist before entering the University of California Berkeley School of Law. One of four women in her class, she was elected to the prestigious Order of the Coif and graduated in the top 1% of her class. She also met and married Rafael Theodore Aldave, a fellow UC graduate and lawyer. Their family soon included a daughter, Anna, and a son, Tony.


After graduation, Barbara practiced law but soon followed her calling to academia. She started her career as an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, She taught herself the complicated law of federal securities regulation and became a recognized expert in the field. She also taught Business Associations and Constitutional Law. Students appreciated her intellect, teaching skills, and genuine commitment to them. Barbara received the Outstanding Teacher Award from the Oregon chapter of the legal fraternity Phi Delta Phi in 1971, 1972, and 1973.


Barbara subsequently taught law at the University of California Berkeley, the University of Texas at Austin, Northeastern University, Boston College, and Cornell. During Barbara’s tenure at UT, she became the first female professor to receive the annual Teaching Excellence Award, creating and teaching innovative courses such as Law and Literature in addition to her packed classes in Business Associations, Securities Regulation, and Constitutional Law. She was instrumental in ensuring that the Law School admitted and retained record numbers of female students and students of color. Wherever she taught, Barbara was a student favorite, as a teacher, mentor, and role model.


But Barbara was much more than just a professor. She took seriously the injunction in the Book of Matthew that “Much is required of the one to whom much is given.” Barbara was active in many social justice organizations, including Bread for the World, NETWORK, Amnesty International, the Gray Panthers, the Women’s Advocacy Project (now the Texas Advocacy Project), the Greater Texas Legal Foundation, and the Gender Bias Task Force for the Texas Supreme Court, the Austin Peace and Justice Coalition, and the National Coalition To Abolish the Death Penalty. She also represented a prisoner in the appeal of his death sentence. She received numerous awards for her work.


In 1989, Barbara left UT to become the Dean of St. Mary’s University School of Law. There she quickly moved to bring her passion for social justice to what had traditionally been a law school focused exclusively on the business of law. Barbara introduced numerous clinics serving clients needing representation in areas such as Poverty Law, Juvenile Justice, Capital Punishment, Civil Justice, Immigration, and Human Rights. These efforts earned St. Mary’s the American Bar Association’s Public Interest Law School of the Year Award in 1997. Barbara also engineered the Law School’s acquisition of a building to serve as the Center for Legal and Social Justice, introduced courses such as Environmental Law, Law and Literature, and Women and the Law, and recruited increasing numbers of minority students.


Perhaps predictably, these changes upset the status quo and disturbed many conservatives in the legal community. As a result, Barbara left St. Mary’s and ultimately returned to finish her teaching career at the University of Oregon. She also served as the Director of the Center for Law and Entrepreneurship and was the Loran L. Stewart Professor of Business Law. At UO, she helped found The Portia Project, a nonprofit that provides legal assistance to incarcerated women and assists in helping incarcerated mothers maintain contact with their children. She retired in 2013 as a Professor Emerita.


Barbara was much more than just a noted legal educator and a social justice advocate. She loved her family - Rafael, Anna, Tony, son-in-law Will, daughter-in-law Teresa, and grandsons Ian and Tyler - deeply. Barbara made friends in numerous settings and in numerous countries during her lifetime. She loved books, music, wine, swimming, foosball, traveling, good food, raucous laughter, and a rousing political discussion. Barbara’s funeral will be held on June 1 at Mount Calvary Cemetery (viewing at 1 pm, graveside service at 2 pm), but the family plans a joyful celebration of life sometime next year.


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Barbara Aldave, please visit Tribute Store
A Memorial Tree was planted for Barbara
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at Musgroves - Springfield Memorial Gardens & Springfield Memorial Funeral Home