Robert James Barrett, of Towanda, died Sunday evening, March 15, 2020 at the Towanda Memorial Personal Care Home following a brief period of deteriorating health. Bob, as he was known to his many friends, was born on Dec. 24, 1926, the youngest of four children of Richard and Winifred Fox Barrett. He was raised on the family farm in Marshview, and graduated from Towanda High School in 1944, where he was a member of the baseball and basketball teams.
Bob married his wife of 67 years, Shirley Ohart Barrett, on Oct. 4, 1952, and together they raised five children of whom he was extremely proud. He was a devoted and caring father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
In 1954 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany. He had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Europe playing baseball while in the service, as well as football and basketball. He was honorably discharged from the Army on Oct. 17, 1956. After the service, he returned to his job at GTE Sylvania and retired in 1989 after more than 33 years.
Beyond his family, sports was his passion. This included playing, coaching, refereeing and encouraging, often all at the same time. It’s safe to say that Bob gave some form of coaching, advice or encouragement to most area youth who kicked, caught, shot, batted or threw a ball in Towanda from the 1960s until his passing. He never lost his love for competition. He was a Little League coach, a youth basketball coach, and he organized and ran the adult Towanda “City League“ basketball for decades at the former SCI. He was a PIAA baseball and basketball official for many years. He was an accomplished softball pitcher and hitter, priding himself in being able to place a ball wherever he wanted. He played for several local teams through the years and was one of the last living members of the Wysox Owls baseball team.
In later years, he traded in his bat and glove for a set of golf clubs, and after retirement became a daily fixture at the Towanda Country Club. Golf seemed like the perfect challenge for him. If not chipping close or rolling in a long birdie putt, he could be spotted in the woods or leaving a creek bed with a pocketful of lost balls. He also enjoyed bowling, shuffleboard and was one of the original members of the Bradford County pool league. He passed on his love of sports to his children and grandchildren. He thoroughly enjoyed watching them compete in a variety of sports through high school, college, and beyond. He was a faithful Notre Dame fan, and the Pittsburgh Pirates and Steelers were his favorite teams. He was a loyal spectator of Towanda Black Knights athletics and could always be seen and heard cheering on the home team.
Bob was a life member and past commander of the VFW, member of the American Legion Post 42, Towanda Gun Club, Towanda Country Club, and Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
Bob was predeceased by his parents; his brothers, Bernard in 1947, Richard in 1989; infant sister, Donna in 1922 and his son-in-law, Lyle Williams, in 2006. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughters, Christine (John) Sullivan of Towanda, Lynda Williams of Elmira, New York, and sons, Robert (Cheryl) Barrett of Elmira, New York, Michael Barrett of Marion, Indiana, and Paul Barrett of Elmira, New York. He is also survived by nine grandchildren who he dearly loved, JB (Colleen) Sullivan, Erin Sullivan, Jodi Barrett, Bobby Barrett, Jeffrey Williams, Carling (Waseam) Dannaoui, Hunter Barrett, Tamara Barrett, Kelli (Andy) Holloway and his great-grandson, Thomas Robert Sullivan.
The family is grateful for the wonderful care Bob received from Roxie Wells, and later from the staff at the Towanda Personal Care Home. Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the Bradford County Humane Society, the Towanda Little League, or a charity of one’s choice. Memories and condolences may be expressed by visiting www.bowenfuneralhomes.com.