Ray Barrett, '49

Ray Barrett, '49

A native of Lockport, NY, Raymond (Ray) B. Barrett graduated from Buffalo State College in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in art education. While a student he was a member of Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity and was tapped for Alpha Society. He subsequently completed a master’s degree at Northwestern State University and a doctorate at Stanford University.

Ray was married to Janet (Jan) Lorene (Wright) (Cope) Barrett for 35 years. Both were lifelong teachers in Palo Alto Unified School District in California. Jan was an elementary school special education teacher who loved teaching, especially reading. Ray started his career teaching art and theater at Jordan Jr. High (now JLS middle school). He was later head of the English Department and eventually focused on students with learning disabilities, primarily dyslexia. In 1987 he was recognized by Dartmouth College as Teacher of the Year for his work with dyslexic students, one of whom matriculated at Dartmouth.

Ray’s endless patience and sincere care for all his students made him a much-loved teacher in his district. Ray did not fully leave the classroom until the age of 82. After his official retirement at age 65 he went right back to school as a daily volunteer/reading teacher in a third-grade classroom. After leaving the classroom, he tutored children after school who needed extra help. He did not stop his volunteer teaching/tutoring until he was unable to continue, at the age of 90.

For fun, Ray was an improv actor with The Illegitimate Theater and appeared on the Merv Griffin Show in 1962. He also volunteered to facilitate theater therapy for people with PTSD. Ray and Jan Barrett traveled the world during summer breaks and were devoted subscribers to the San Francisco Symphony and Opera.

Ray chose to honor Buffalo State (formerly The New York State College for Teachers) with heartfelt gratitude for his teaching education. His college years were interrupted by the Second World War. But he returned to Buffalo after two years serving in the Merchant Marines. He was always grateful to the College for the tremendous support he received that launched a truly meaningful career as a public-school teacher.