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Russell Robinson Barrett Jr.

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Russell Robinson Barrett, Jr. 1914 - 2010 GRAFTON Russell R. (Bob) Barrett, Jr., 96 years old, of Grafton, Vt. died at Valley Cares Assisted Living in Townshend, Vermont on Sunday, November 7, 2010. Born on June 12, 1914, Sewell, N.J., he graduated from the University of Virginia in 1939 with a BS in chemistry. Prior to that he attended the Pingry School in Elizabeth, New Jersey from 1929-33. He is the son of Russell Robinson Barrett and Edith Hurff Barrett. He had one brother and three sisters James, Kathleen, Molly and Patty, all deceased. Bob joined the service September 1939. In November 1940, he received his wings as a naval aviator and was ordered to Hawaii to join patrol bombing Squadron #102. He was eventually sent to the Philippines, where he became a part of the ill-fated Patrol Wing 10. He flew PBY's, amphibious rescue planes that were pressed into service as bomber, fighter and patrol aircraft during the battle for the Philippine Islands. Patrol Wing Ten was the only U.S. Navy aviation unit to fight the Japanese in the early weeks of WWII. Bob was stationed in Hawaii, l940, and in Subic Bay in the Philippines from 1940 to 41. VP-102 was berthed aboard the Navy's first aircraft carrier USS Langley temporarily until a seaplane ramp could be constructed at the former submarine base on Subic Bay at Olangapo in Zambales Province. VP-102 made mass formation flights across the Pacific from Manila Bay and was based alternately at Sangley Point, Cavite and Olangapo at Subic Bay until December 14, 1941. With the enemy closing in on all sides Admiral Hart, Commander-in-chief Asiatic Fleet ordered the remaining planes to fly to the Dutch East Indies and continue to fight the Japanese from the many islands there. By early 1942, Pat Wing ten had suffered many casualties and Bob escaped to Australia in one of the last two remaining planes (out of 40) and returned to the states. In early 1944 he returned to the Pacific to join Rescue Squadron 3 as Executive Officer and proceeded to operate in support of the invasions of Saipan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. He rose to command his own squadron VH-1 at the end of the war. He recently completed a self-published book about the daring pilots of Pat Wing Ten. Citations and awards include Distinguished Flying Cross (2), Air Medal (7), Presidential Unit Citation (PatWingTen), Navy Unit Commendations (VH-3), Defense of the Philippines Medal, US Army and Philippine Unit Citations (OLC), area service ribbons w/Battle Stars. His was a life member of ADBC (American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor) and the Naval Aviation Museum. He was a member of the Sons of American Revolution (SAR). He retired with the rank of commander from the U.S. Navy in 1949. He married Virginia Mulford Barrett on April 11, 1942 and they made their home in Westfield, New Jersey following the war. There, in 1950, he founded Barrett & Crain real estate company. In 1952, he formed Barrett Corporation (Barrett & Crain, Inc.) and launched an office that was to become a leading real estate office in the area eventually growing to four office locations. He was part of a team of twenty-five who created Country Living Associates from former Land Vest, with offices on Madison Avenue in New York City and on Long Island and in Connecticut. In 1969 he moved to Grafton, Vermont and in 1970 he founded Barrett & Co. He continued to fly a small private plane until 1995. He lived in Grafton until January 2010 when he and Virginia moved to Valley Cares in Townshend, Vt. He was elected president of Westfield Board of Realtors in 1957 and awarded State of New Jersey Realtor of the Year (1969). Charitable activities included Westfield Area President/Trustee United Fund, president/Trustee YMCA, Civil Defense Director, Founding member of Historical Society and Vestry Member of the Episcopal Church. He was a Member Echo Lake Country Club. In Vermont, he was President of the Grafton Historical Society for seven years, Trustee of the Grafton Church, founding member with the Windham Foundation and the University of Vermont of the Grafton-Barrett Wildlife Coverts Project, which became a leading wildlife program in the Northeast (1972-82), involving many wildlife biologists and students. He was elected Trustee of the National Board of the Ruffed Grouse Society. He was a volunteer solicitor for the award-winning Valley Cares (housing for the elderly, Townshend, Vt.). He also helped restore the early American hamlet of Houghtonville, Vt. (part of Grafton). He was a member of Stratton Mountain Golf Club. Bob enjoyed fishing and bird hunting and loved his three dogs, Jessie, Katy and Luke. He also enjoyed skiing and anything that included the great outdoors. He had a life long interest in U.S. history, particularly as it related to Pacific campaigns in World War II. One of his most difficult challenges in life was facing his addiction to alcohol but he had nearly 60 years sober. He always believed in the Golden Rule, hard work and the honor system. He touched many lives with his kindness, generosity and understanding. Recently he was written up in the Valley Cares Senior Sentinel: "While Bob is very proud of both his Naval and real estate careers, he considered his marriage to Jinna and his children to be the greatest joys of his life." The family wishes to thank Valley Cares Assisted Living and its wonderful staff and caregivers and his private end-of-life caregivers, Susan Nelson, Barbara Duquette, Barbara Kolodziej, Charlene Brown, Dorothy Fontaine, and Kathy Badgley for the beautiful and loving care he received. He is survived by his wife and three children (Lynn Barrett of Dummerston Center, Vt., Russell Robinson Barrett, III and his wife Dorothy of Northfield, Vt. and Randi Barrett and her partner Joanne Pereira of Elmore, Vt.) and three grandchildren (John Grumeza who lives in Brattleboro, Vt., Bobby Grumeza who lives in Burlington, Vt. and Lynna who is married to Lachlan Barnard and lives in Australia). FUNERAL NOTICE: A service will be held on Friday, November 19 at 2 p.m. at the Houghtonville Cemetery in Grafton followed by a reception at 3 p.m. at the Phelps Barn, Old Tavern, Grafton. Relatives and friends are cordially invited. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be sent to either Valley Cares Assisted Living in Townshend or to The Grafton Historical Society, Brick Church project.

Published in Brattleboro Reformer on Nov. 11, 2010
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