Dunmorean of the Month: John Barrett

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore lost an educator in every sense of the word when John C. Barrett passed away Monday, Sept. 27, after a battle with prostate cancer.

Son of the late Louis “Bud” and Evelyn Margaret “Peggy” Barrett, he died at the home of his devoted partner, Peggy Burke.

A humble and always well-dressed man, Barrett graduated from Dunmore Central Catholic High School in 1969. 

He was a proud graduate of Kings College earning a bachelor of science. degree in secondary English education in 1973. He then earned a master of science degree in secondary school administration from the University of Scranton. 

Barrett began a lengthy and satisfying career as an educator when he started teaching English and speech composition in 1973 in the Dunmore School District. He later served as vice principal of Dunmore High School and principal of Dunmore Middle School. 

He was an inspiration not only to his numerous students, but also to his nieces and nephews, who looked at him as a second father or grandfather.

He looked at education as bringing a student’s potential into actuality.

If you looked at the definition of “gentleman” in the dictionary, you would find John C. Barrett of Dunmore. 

He had many other interests including traveling, architecture, reading historical biographies, working in real estate, and gardening.

He was well-known for walking in a polyester or corduroy suit to and from the high school throughout Dunmore neighborhoods. 

A man of humility, he was polite and kind to those who met him throughout his years as an educator.

And it was quite a journey. 

His career as an educator lasted until 2008. His final position was principal at the Dunmore Middle School. 

“He owned rental properties and loved houses and architecture,” his beloved partner Peggy said. “He loved traveling and reading.

“He was truly a gentleman, very humble. He was the epitome of kindness. He put family first ahead of himself. John never married or had children, but treated his nieces and nephews as if they were his own children.” 

A Notre Dame and Boston Red Sox fan, he always put his students first. 

“He believed in treating students fairly and was always there for them,” Peggy said. “He treated every student the same.

“He was a tough disciplinarian and believed in working to the best of your ability. He believed in a strong work ethic.

“He believed a student should come to school everyday and earn his or her paycheck. Your report card or grade was your paycheck.”

His sister, Barbara Jordan, said he was dedicated to giving the best of himself to the students of Dunmore. “The world has a few good men and he is one of them,” she said.

“He lived by the rules of kindness and selflessness. 

“He loved landscaping and walking. He bought his first car when he was in his 30s. Everyone in Dunmore saw him walking in his corduroy sport coat and tie. He loved walking to school and throughout the neighborhood.” 

Tom Jordan, retired Robert Morris Elementary School principal, was his brother-in-law. “John Barrett was a total gentleman his entire life,” he said.

“He was one of those men who looked the role, acted the role, was the role and dressed appropriately.

“He has a brother, Jimmy, who owns Roads Scholar Transport. I called them ‘Flash’ and ‘Cash,’ with John being ‘Cash.’ John had a good business mind too.” 

Besides his sister Barbara and twin brother Jimmy, Barrett is survived by his sister Betsy Laffey and numerous nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews, including one on the way. He was the godfather of eight children. 

2 thoughts on “Dunmorean of the Month: John Barrett

  1. Great teacher. Thank you Mr Barrett for starting me on my addiction. You are and will continue to be try missed. Gid speed…

Leave a Reply