Donald Frederick Barton

August 19, 1924November 11, 2020

COLUMBIA – A private memorial service for Donald “Don” Frederick Barton, 96, will be held at 3:00 p.m. Sunday, November 15, 2020 at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, with burial in the church memorial gardens. A livestreaming of the service will be available to view at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, is assisting the family.

Mr. Barton passed away Wednesday, November 11, 2020. Born in Anderson on August 19, 1924, he was a son of the late Dr. David Judson Barton and Harriett Rose Crouch Barton.

Don graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Journalism. While attending USC, he was in the Kappa Sigma Kappa service fraternity, Blue Key Honor Society and Lambda Chi Alpha social fraternity, as well as sports editor of The Gamecock.

He served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II as a B-29 Flight Engineer. Don worked as a sports editor at the Columbia Record and was USC Sports Information Director for seven years. He then founded an advertising agency, where he worked for 33 years. Don was also the author of six books pertaining to USC and Clemson sports.

Don was a member of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, where he was an Elder. He was chairman of the commission that planned and built Riverbanks Zoo and was elected Director Emeritus of Riverbanks Zoo Society. He also served as Chairman for many committees in Columbia including: United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Columbia Bicentennial Celebration and 100 Years of Gamecock Football. He was selected as the 1977 Ambassador of the Year and named to the Diamond Circle.

More than his achievements we will remember Don for his quick wit, solid character and strong faith. He reminds us that we are commanded to follow Jesus and give thanks for “the abilities and strivings that sustain us, true experiences that shape us, the relationships that enrich us, and His Grace that redeems us.”

Surviving are his wife, Betty Kneece Barton; daughter, Mary Elizabeth Barton Thorne and her husband, John Calvin Thorne III of Columbia; grandchildren, Elizabeth Henderson (Drayton), John Thorne IV (Eliza), Mary Katharine Hill (Haynes); and two great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by two brothers, Hasell Barton and David Barton and sisters, Caroline Caughman, Dorothy Hawkins and Harriett Littlejohn.

Memorials may be made to Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 3200 Trenholm Rd, Columbia, SC 29204; or Riverbanks Zoo and Gardens, 500 Wildlife Pkwy, Columbia, SC 29210.

Memories may be shared at



  • Livestream Service

    Sunday, November 15, 2020


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Donald Frederick Barton

have a memory or condolence to add?

Humpy Wheeler

November 15, 2020

Don was a great mentor. After a devastating back injury while. on the USC football team I was able. to continue my scholarship by working for him in. the sports information dept.He. taught. me many things. and. was instrumental in my future success with NASCAR. He was brilliant, kind,
humble and a devout Christian. I was able to. spend time with him. at the Alex Hawkins Memorial Service and so honored that I could.
h.a. (humpy) wheeler, Charlotte n.c.

Joseph Good

November 15, 2020

Ginny and I grieve the loss of Don. He was a true gentleman on and off the tennis court. He was an inspiration and role model for us "younger guys". It was our priviledge to have known Don.

Steve Stradtman

November 14, 2020

When I think of Don I think of leadership, kindness, humility, humor, faithfulness, historian, sportsman, sportsmanship, calm, gentile, true gentleman, loving husband, musician, and one half of a beautiful couple and a model union. Our family was so fortunate to be able to call Don and his family friends for our entire lives. We are especially thankful for Don and Betty’s graciousness and kindness to our parents throughout so many decades. May God bless and comfort you in the days ahead.


Steve and Jennifer Stradtman

Octavia Lewis

November 13, 2020

Grieving with the family for your loss . Don will be missed in so many ways. I will miss the devotionals he often shared with our church membership. Blessings to the family. Octavia Lewis

Howard Hellams

November 13, 2020

Don was a delightful fellow and a good friend. We'll all miss him terribly, but we'll have a lifetime of good memories to keep us company.

Lloyd Hendricks

November 13, 2020

Don Barton was a true Christian gentleman who was a mentor to many of us at Eastminster

Blythe Lewis

November 12, 2020

Mr. Barton was one of my favorite people when I moved to Columbia in 1992. He was a member of my church and a very enthusiastic Gamecock Fan. He was a quiet giant, but I could tell his opinions were firm and he knew exactly what he believed in. His dry wit and twinkling eyes were a sign early on that he had a happy and full life. When I met Betty and later the Thornes, it all made sense. I loved Don Barton! What an amazing family spanning now four generations. I celebrate with you and so many in our church family, the Gamecock community and the Columbia community a life well-lived.
Blythe Lewis


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