David H. Barber, 80: Doctor, volunteer devoted life to helping children

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BATH — David Houghton Barber, 80, of Bath, died Aug. 12 at Mid Coast Hospital, after a brief struggle with lung cancer.

He was born July 21, 1935, in Boone, Iowa, the son of Helen Houghton and Willis R. Barber. David graduated from Beloit College in 1957, and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 1961.

Barber interned at The Cleveland Clinic and completed a pediatric residency there as well. He then served as chief pediatric resident at Cleveland Metropolitan General Hospital.

In 1966, Barber was drafted into the U.S. Army and proudly served two years at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Following his military service, he completed a pediatric neurology residency at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He went on to care for young patients at Children’s Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for 20 years, serving as the medical center’s director of outpatient pediatrics.

In 1990, Barber moved to Germany, and for the next eight years provided pediatric care for dependents of active-duty military service members. After retiring from medicine, he moved to Bath.

Barber was active in the community, serving on the School Board for 10 years and the board of directors of the Patten Free Library, where he also assisted with children’s programming. In addition, he was an enthusiastic volunteer at the Maine Maritime Museum, and was active with the Bath YMCA and with the Friends of Merrymeeting Bay.

While always committed professionally and personally to improving children’s lives, Barber also enjoyed reading, history, gardening and sailing. His love of boats and of the ocean made Bath an especially enjoyable place for him, and he forged many friendships.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Dr. Nancy D. Barber; a son, Rob Barber and his wife, Robin, of Arden, North Carolina; a daughter, Sarah Barber and her husband, Chris Whaling, of Silver Spring, Maryland; his grandchildren, Alex, Roth, Phoebe, William and Charlotte; his sister, Martha Thomas and her husband, Tom, of Fort Collins, Colorado; his sister-in-law, Adair Delamater, of Bath; and his nieces and nephews, Katie, Drew, Kristen, Robbin and Matthew.

A celebration of Barber’s life will be held in the fall.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to support children’s services at the Patten Free Library, 33 Summer St., Bath, ME 04530.