John J. Barrett


Died December 23, 2011,Goshen, CT

College: Silliman
Major: English
Graduate School: Boston U. School of Medicine, M.D., 1966

Widow: Mrs. Cynthia Ann Barrett
12 Dresden Court East
Goshen, CT 06756-2129
Children: Christopher, 1961; Elizabeth, 1963; Jennifer, 1967
Grandchildren: Merilin; Henry Rogers, 2000; Ethan Rogers, 2004

John J. Barrett, M.D., died Friday, December 23, 2011, at his home from complications of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. John was born June 11, 1938, in Torrington, CT, son of the late Frances Doyle Barrett and Walter Matthew Barrett of Goshen, CT. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Cynthia Martin Barrett of Goshen, CT.

He is also survived by his children, Christopher Barrett of Dover, New Hampshire, Elizabeth Barrett of Cape Neddick Maine, and Jennifer Barrett of Denver, Colorado, as well as their mother, Linda Hutchins. In addition, he is survived by his grandchildren, Merilin M. Barrett of Dover, NH, Henry and Ethan Rogers of Denver, Colorado, and his brother, Frank Barrett, of West Hartford and his sister, Helen McCarthy, of Seabrook Island, South Carolina. He was fortunate to have several well-loved nieces and nephews as well as other cherished family members.

John was an anesthesiologist at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, Torrington, CT, from 1975-1998. He was educated at Boston University School of Medicine, Yale College, New Haven, Tonbridge School, Kent, England, Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, CT, and Goshen Center School. He served in the medical corps of the USAF from 1968 to 1970 in Nakon Phanom, Thailand.

His passions included singing, playing golf, history, travel, and after retirement, woodworking. He participated in various a cappella singing groups which included the Duke’s Men and Whiffenpoofs at Yale, and the Blue Notes at Hotchkiss. Locally he performed with the Goshen Players and the Mighty Goshen Festival Singers as well as church choirs. He volunteered with humanitarian medical relief groups in Haiti and India and was an active member of the Winsted Area Peace Action Group since 2002, Goshen Democratic Town Committee, and the Democratic Coalition of Northwest Connecticut.

The family would like to thank his doctors, Michael Kovalchik, Armen Babigian, Huned Patwa and Elizabeth Auld, Bill McGeehin, Tim Gostkowski, Sara Case, Ed Osborn, Kevin Felice and Jinsy Andrews, for their care, love and support during his illness.

A memorial service and celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, March 17, 2012, at 11:00 AM at Saint Anthony of Padua Church in Litchfield, CT. Visit Rowe Funeral Home at

Memorial contributions may be made in John’s name to Project Main Street, the only non-profit organization dedicated to providing direct financial relief to ALS patients and their families. The address is Project Main St., 244 5th Avenue Suite #2417, New York, NY, 10001. Telephone: 1-800-965-MAIN (6246) or visit


After graduation, I went to Tufts Medical School. Having been an English major, I was ill-prepared for medical school. But then I was fortunate to spend my next three years at Boston University, from which I graduated cum laude in 1966. I trained at Boston City Hospital for two years in surgery, followed by two years in the U. S. Air Force (1968-70) and work in anesthesia at Dartmouth. I then practiced in Torrington, Connecticut until I retired.

I married Linda Bull, and we had three children. We have been lucky enough to be friends now, and mutually supportive. This is because I married Cindy Martin in 1979, and she is a wise, generous, and understanding person.

My life has been very conventional and not particularly well-examined. Except for an occasional bump in the road I followed a fairly conservative course and did what was expected of me.

For the major changes in my outlook on life, I can without question thank George W. Bush. As I watched him dismantle a century of social consciousness in our country, I became aware of what was happening to the behavior and mores of the country. The subversion of the English language by such phrases as “compassionate conservative” while really instituting policies to concentrate the national wealth in the hands of the top 1% of the population, destroys the social safety nets created in the New Deal, obstructs health care legislation, and gives the drug companies a gift in the so-called prescription drug plan, as well as starting two illegal wars of aggression.

I began to question my own participation in the illegal wars in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. If I knew in 1968 what I know now I would, I hope, have been a true patriot and gone to Canada. I am still proud of my father for saying to me as I went into medical practice “Don’t rob the people.” I always ran my practice that way. (Don’t look to me for a big donation). The opposite of my father’s advice is now the common morality in this country, with the shameless practices of the mutual back-scratching of executives and boards of directors which result in obscene “bonuses” for people simply doing their assigned jobs, either adequately or inadequately.

I can’t give all the credit to Bush. I began to attend a peace vigil in Winsted, Connecticut. in September of 2002 and met a retired nurse who was 80 years old, standing outside in all weather, and she had been doing it for years. She was the best informed person I ever met, She introduced me to The Nation, and really made me understand what was happening to the country.

She just died, and I will go on without her counsel, but with a new social conscience. Now that there is a Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate donations to political campaigns, we can say goodbye to the republic. The U.S. Empire is here, for now, but all empires overreach and fall.