Deborah M. Barrett, 61: Interests, travels spanned the world

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Deborah McKinley Barrett, 61, died peacefully July 25 at the Gosnell House in Scarborough.

Barrett was born Feb. 16, 1954, in Portland, to William and Muriel McKinley.

She was a graduate of Deering High School in Portland, and of Western New England College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

After college, she returned to Maine to work for the Cumberland County judge of probate. It was there that she met her husband, Daniel P. Barrett, who regularly visited the probate court as part of his law practice. Deborah later served as the deputy register of probate.

Barrett’s deepest interest and source of joy was in raising her two children, Mark and Karyn, and she was proud of their academic, professional and athletic achievements. She was also particularly close with her father, for whom she provided assistance and care during the final years of his life.

Well-read and interested in world affairs, Barrett loved engaging in political discussion. She also enjoyed spending summer days at her parents’ pool or at the beach. A passionate traveler, she and her family traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Caribbean. In the past few years, she enjoyed an Alaskan cruise with her father, brother and sister, and most recently, a trip to Rome, where her daughter was studying.

Barrett spent the last seven months of her life in a courageous battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which progressed rapidly. She is remembered for approaching the disease with bravery, strength and adaptability, and was thankful for the friends, neighbors, family and other loved ones who rallied around her.

Barrett was predeceased by her mother and father.

She is survived by her husband of 32 years, Dan, and her children, Mark Barrett, of Philadelphia, and Karyn Barrett, of Cape Elizabeth. She also leaves behind a brother, William K. McKinley, of Portland, and a sister, Julie Armstrong, of Cape Elizabeth. Survivors also include nieces, nephews and many other family members and friends.

Barrett’s family wishes to thank the professionals at Hospice of Southern Maine for the assistance they provided to her over the last few months. The family also thanks the staff at Gosnell House and to Ron Hoffman of Compassionate Care ALS.

A memorial service was scheduled to be held Thursday, July 30, at 11 a.m., at Jones-Rich-Hutchins Funeral Home in Portland.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Barrett’s memory to Compassionate Care ALS, 752 West Falmouth Highway, Falmouth, MA 02540.

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