Donald Eugene Barbarick

July 21, 1928May 9, 2014

Donald Eugene Barbarick passed away peacefully the morning of Friday May 9, 2014, at his care home in Castle Rock, Colorado.

“Donny”, as he was known as a child, was born July 21, 1928 in Neosho, MO, the fourth and youngest child of Henry Frederick Barbarick and Mildred Fravel Barbarick. He grew up with a keen interest in his surroundings and how things worked. This trait stayed with him throughout his life, allowing him to learn much and hone hobbies such as auto mechanics, wooden caricature animal carving, homing pigeons, furniture building, horticulture, calligraphy, exterior and interior home remodeling, and a variety of other interests in addition to being an avid reader. Having a very accomplished and adventurous brother ten years his senior fueled his zest for life. He graduated in 1946 from Neosho H.S. where he excelled in all subjects, was a starting lineman on the 1945 state championship football team, competed on the chess team, photographed on the yearbook staff, played trombone in the marching and jazz bands, orchestra and the covert Top Hatters night club jazz band formed by he and a few select students. His size proved helpful on more than one occasion as the Top Hatters played clubs in the quad-state area of southwest Missouri.

After graduating in 1950 from Southwest Missouri State College with a BS in mathematics he toured the Rocky Mountain States as a traveling furniture care products salesman. He fell in love with the West that summer, as doors were being slammed in his face and as he witnessed the east face of the Grand Teton glow in the light of dawn. The foot of the great peak was a place he would return to many times over the course of his life. His plans to become an actuary changed when he returned to Neosho that winter and joined the U.S. Air Force six months after the start of the Korean War. Testing showed his prowess in mathematics which resulted in him starting what would be a lifelong career in meteorology. He was assigned by the Air Force to Florida State University for graduate training in meteorology. It was here he met a dance instructor in the physical education department who, after a three month romance, would on April 3, 1953 become his beloved wife of 50 years, Bettye Doss Barbarick. Later that year they were stationed at Patrick AFB in Cocoa Beach, Florida where Don served as a weather equipment instructor and son Bruce Allen was born. In 1955 it was off to Chaumont AB in France where the weather officer saw the arrival of son James Lee. They landed at Chanute AFB in Illinois in 1958 where daughter Ann Elizabeth was born while Dad was serving as an instructor. In 1959 it was off to Seattle and the University of Washington for further graduate training and to welcome son Phil Doss into the family. Don served as an advanced weather officer and technical services officer at Ent AFB in Colorado Springs 1961-1965. Captain Barbarick’s talent as a meteorologist was recognized while on TDY to New York to determine why forecasting for travel to and from the Texas Tower in the northern Atlantic Ocean was resulting in an unacceptable loss of life. With a team of weather technicians, Barbarick developed a forecast model for that area of the Atlantic that resulted in an immediate end to deaths due to unexpected weather. Major Barbarick departed in 1965 for Kadena AFB in Okinawa not knowing he had been hand-picked to be the Weather Officer in Charge of forecasting for the top-secret CIA Operation Black Shield in Southeast Asia. The focus of the Operation was to gather intelligence on installations in Southeast Asia using the supersonic A-12 Blackbird (later models were called SR-71). Airmen likened its appearance to a local viper the Okinawans called Habu, the name stuck. Major Barbarick didn’t know about Operation Black Shield going over. His wife didn’t know about it until some 20 years later when he learned at an Air Force reunion that the Operation had been declassified. Lt. Colonel Barbarick finished his military career with a three year stint at March Air Force Base in Riverside, California, where among other things he forecasted weather for Vandenberg AFB missile launches. He retired September 30, 1971 after 21 years of service.

The family moved back to Colorado Springs where Don worked construction, sold insurance, and taught high school math over the next few years in the Falcon, CO and LaVeta, CO school districts. In 1979 he returned to meteorology as the Air Pollution Meteorologist for the State of Colorado. He led the Air Pollution Control Division through the worst years of carbon monoxide and particulate pollution Denver and many mountain towns ever experienced. The noxious combination of vehicle emissions of the era and severe temperature inversions placed the problem solving meteorologist where he could once again apply his outstanding technical skill, knowledge and superb initiative to determine a remedy for yet another, and ever worsening, problem. After thorough research he recommended Colorado stay on Daylight Savings Time year-round to allow what would be warmer air, the last hour of rush traffic, the opportunity to lift the traffic emissions to a higher altitude, thereby decreasing the amount of carbon monoxide available to be trapped close to the ground by the later inversion. He claimed that single act would decrease air pollution in Denver by ten percent. The recommendation fell on deaf ears. He continued to monitor Denver’s air pollution after his retirement from public service in 1994, and was happy to see the amendments to the Clean Air Act that took effect in 1994 had a marked positive effect on air pollution in the Mile High City.

He was known by all who knew him as a true man of integrity. His wife said, “He got his spine from his parents.” Both were chiropractors and pioneered the profession in southwest Missouri. When Donny was a baby, it was his father’s last stay in jail for practicing chiropractic, some 20 years after graduating from Palmer Collage of Chiropractic in 1909, that was the catalyst for the Missouri State Legislature to “legalize” the profession. This “spine" forged at a young age destined him to receive commendations in his career for his outstanding technical skill, knowledge and superb initiative, and it also gave clarity to the innate need to live a life worthy of more than just existing. This desire would draw him to the Christ who he would follow throughout adulthood, leading by example in a manner where others wanted to emulate him. He will be remembered as a true man of integrity.

Mr. Barbarick was preceded in death by his parents, brother Henry Fravel Barbarick, sisters Dorothy Huitt and Frances Byrd, nephew John Michael “Mike” Barbarick, and his loving wife Bettye Doss Barbarick. He is survived by his wife Alta C. Barbarick, son Bruce Allen (Sherri) Barbarick, son James Lee Barbarick, daughter Ann Barbarick Sewell, son Phil Doss (Julie) Barbarick, nephew Stephen “Steve” (Sharon) Barbarick, niece Paula (Ken) Manley, eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be at Olinger Crown Hill Chapel in Lakewood, Colorado at noon May 16, with full military honors. Viewing will be at the same location and day from 11:00-noon. His body will be laid to rest at Crown Hill, next to his wife Bettye.

Arrangements under the direction of Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary, Cemetery & Arboretum, Wheat Ridge, CO.


  • Viewing Friday, May 16, 2014
  • Funeral Service Friday, May 16, 2014

Donald Eugene Barbarick

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Valerie Butler

June 14, 2014

I want extend my condolences to all the Barbarick brothers Bruce, Jim and Phil and sister Ann. I am to sorry for your loss. I knew your father was man of integrity however after reading that obituary I realize he was even more special than I was aware. May he rest in peace and always be remembered as the great man he was.

Ken Bailey

May 16, 2014

Bruce, so sorry for you loss. Your father was a big man with a big heart.

Ken Bailey