Claude D. Barton, 96, of Columbia, died Dec. 24, 2012. He was born Aug. 12, 1916 in Derma, Miss., and grew up on a small farm. With an agricultural engineering degree he graduated from Mississippi State University in 1939 and entered the Army
In the World War II
Pacific Theater he commanded an infantry battalion in the Philippines, Okinawa, Leyte and Guam. Following the war, in Washington, D.C., he served in the newly formed Central Intelligence Group as first director of security in the creation of the Secretary of Defense office. He also met and married a lively young WAC, Ruth Catlett, who preceded him in death in 2001. His 31-year Army career included service in Allied Forces Southern Europe, the Infantry School, Military Assistance Advisory Group in Korea, Army security in the Pentagon, and headquarters in Hawaii. He earned the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star
, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge and a Presidential Unit Citation for action on the island of Ie Shima. After commanding the First Brigade, 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii, his last assignment was Professor of Military Science at the University of Missouri–Columbia in 1967, and retired as a full colonel in 1970.
He served for seven years as the executive director of the United Way in Columbia, and worked for three years at Boone County Bank. He also pursued a hobby of building musical instruments, primarily hammered dulcimers, at behest of his daughter Cathy. He attended First Baptist Church and was a Rotarian
. In November he was an inaugural inductee in the MU ROTC Hall of Fame.
Claude is survived by his sister Marie Lofton of Jonesboro, AR; his brother Roy Barton of Germantown, TN; his three daughters and their husbands, Claudia Barton and Tom Welsh of College Station, TX; Judy and Tom Gibbons of Richardson, TX; and Cathy Barton and Dave Para of Boonville, MO, and by five grandchildren.
A visitation will be held from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Friday, December 28, 2012. Funeral service will be at 10:30 am on Saturday, December 29, 2012 at First Baptist Church. Interment is to follow in Memorial Park Cemetery.
Online tributes may be left at memorialfuneralhomeandcemetery.com
Memorial contributions may be made to First Baptist Church or to the Wounded Warrior Project.