Robert E. Barrow, long-time resident of Galveston, passed away peacefully in his home on March 13, 2021 at the age of 87.
Robert (aka Bob, or “Doc”) was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 4, 1934 to Sam and Viola Barrow. He graduated from Dearborn High School in 1952, where he was on the swim team, and captain of the tennis team. He continued swimming well into college, and was an avid tennis player for many years, earning numerous trophies and awards until his athletic interests turned exclusively to golf. Bob had perhaps one of the longest graduate and post-graduate careers at Wayne State University where his curiosity, tenacity, and excellence lead to a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1961, a Master of Science in Industrial Medicine and Toxicology in 1963, and a Ph.D. in Human Physiology in 1967. After his postgraduate training at Wayne State University and the University of Rochester, he became an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and eventually a Professor with Tenure in the Department of Surgery at UTMB until his retirement in 2006. His major contributions scientifically were in pulmonary physiology, where he created extensively cited research papers in anatomy, physiology, and chemistry.
Through his last 30 years of practice as the Director of Research at Shriners Burns Hospital in Galveston, he contributed significantly to advancements in burn care. He was one of the most cited contributors to burn care science over the past 30 years, publishing over 165 research papers in prestigious scientific journals. He mentored over 50 post graduate fellows in research and advancements in the treatment of pulmonary injury from smoke inhalation, cutaneous injury from burns, and perhaps most significantly, in unraveling the mysteries of a hyper catabolic response after major injury that heretofore had lead victims of major trauma to waste muscle and other bodily reserves. He devised nutritional and hormonal modulations of these responses that contributed to a major decrease in mortality for burn patients throughout the world. He had an ebullient personality that inspired young doctors and researchers to explore the world of science, which he practiced with an honest exactitude. Bob was the epitome of a professor from a bygone era where excellence, honesty, precision, research, and contributions to the future were the driver of all actions.
Galveston community members flocked to see him at his home and on the golf course, his second home for many decades. Because so many golfers were named Bob, he earned the nickname “Doc” at the Moody Gardens Golf Course. An avid golfer for over 40 years, he won bets from some of the best rogues in the city. A fine young golfer recently toasted him with the following: “There are 3 things you know are going to happen when you are with Doc. You are going to drink some quality beverages, you are going to have a good time, and you are not going to win an argument even if you are right.”
Bob will be dearly missed by family and friends all over the world. He is survived by his three children: son Bryce Barrow (and wife Susan) of Fort Worth, Texas, daughter Laura Simmons (and husband Scott) of Fredericksburg, Texas, and son Brian Barrow of San Marcos, Texas. He is also survived by his brother William (Bill) Barrow of Vernon, Texas, and six grandchildren (Blake and Bailey Barrow, and Natalie, Ashley, Alexander, and Nicholas Simmons). He was preceded in death by his parents, Sam and Viola Barrow of Lehigh Acres, Florida, and his brother Bruce Barrow of San Diego, California.
The family is planning a private memorial service at a later date.
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