Santa Barbara’s native son

Santa Barbara’s native son

By SCM

Photo by Lynn Houston/SBA

The late John Treloar Rickard ’36 was honored by the city of Santa Barbara in a number of ways over the years. He was named Man of the Year and El Presidente. Now there’s a terminal at the Santa Barbara Airport: The John T. Rickard Terminal, dedicated in September 2013.

Old Spanish Days: John T. Rickard and family. Courtesy Santa Barbara Historical Museum

Santa Barbara born and bred, “Jack” Rickard returned home after service in the U.S. Navy during World War II and became an active member of the business community, serving as city attorney, mayor, and later as a judge for the Santa Barbara County Superior Court. He brought back the city’s cherished Old Spanish Days celebration and for that was named El Presidente. He’s recognized for the leadership and foresight that helped shape the city of Santa Barbara as it is today.

In the mid-1950s, Mayor Rickard led efforts to protect Santa Barbara’s coastline from offshore oil drilling. The Cunningham-Shell Act, passed by the state legislature in 1955, regulated offshore drilling and included provisions protecting tidelands from gas and oil development, establishing a marine sanctuary along a portion of the Santa Barbara County coastline. Rickard is also credited with convincing the city to annex the airport property, which allowed for improvement and expansion of the Santa Barbara Municipal Airport.

Born to Postmaster James Bickel Rickard and Acacia Teresa Orena, Rickard traced his family lineage back to the last comandante of the Royal Presidio of Santa Barbara: Don José de la Guerra y Noriega. Rickard and his wife, Marion Ester Foster, had five sons, including Robert Rickard ’69 and John Rickard Jr. ’70.

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