Don Paul Barlow, 88, passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by loving family on January 20, 2024. He was born in Salt Lake City on March 3, 1935, to Edmund Francis Barlow of Salt Lake City and Ethel Christina Moon of Melbourne, Australia. He married Judith Sharlene Harkness on August 13, 1959, and resided in Bountiful where Don and Judy raised their five children.
Don's early life was complicated both by severe poverty and his father's involvement in polygamy. His earliest childhood memories were of the isolated polygamous town of Short Creek on the Utah-Arizona border. The family later moved to Salt Lake City where they lived on the fringe of both polygamist and mainstream LDS communities. Despite the family's extended mistreatment, Don never harbored any bitterness and went on to faithfully serve in various Church callings, including Young Men's Advisor, Gospel Doctrine Teacher, First Counselor in the Bishopric of the Bountiful 27th Ward, and Sunday School President and High Councilman in the Bountiful Utah North Stake.
Don had a keen intellect and curiosity in all things. An excellent student and voracious reader, his academic talents, particularly in the humanities, were recognized and nurtured by kind teachers who fostered his lifelong love of biography and history. Don was the first member of his family to attend college. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in European history, and a secondary education teaching certificate. He later went on to earn Master's Degrees in both Social Work and Educational Administration. As an educator, he valued the power of rationality, inquiry, and critical thinking. He actively followed current events and worried about the strain of anti-intellectualism in the country, and especially in Utah.
After college, Don enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve, entering basic training at Fort Ord, California in October 1958. He received a direct commission as a 1st Lieutenant in the Army Medical Services Corps, and transferred to the 328th General Hospital headquartered at Fort Douglas, where he remained for the rest of his military career, retiring in 1995 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
After working at the Utah State Industrial School, Don was hired as a social worker by the Salt Lake School District, with most of his time spent at Highland High School. At Highland, in addition to being a social worker, Don was also a men's assistant basketball and baseball coach and a student government advisor. In 1983, he became assistant principal, serving as principal during the 1996-97 school year. In his 40-year career as a social worker, administrator, and coach at Highland High School, he was affectionately regarded by students as the relatable cool guy who advocated on their behalf and doled out discipline only when necessary. Don's family takes great solace in knowing of the hundreds of lives he positively impacted during his professional career. He retired in 2001 to care for Judy in her declining health, and he provided her loving care until her death in 2003. Retirement also allowed him to spend time with his adoring grandchildren, and more recently his eleven great grandsons.
Don is survived by his five loving children, Craig (Deanna) Barlow, Scott (Collette) Barlow, Jeff (Tami) Barlow of Sacramento, California, Jill (James) Haslam, and Jennifer; brothers Hugh (Diane) Barlow and Julian (Sally) Barlow; sister-in-law Connie (Joseph) Barlow; 17 grandchildren, and 11 great grandchildren. Don was preceded in death by his love, Judith Sharlene Harkness Barlow; parents Edmund and Ethel Barlow; brothers Joseph and Ian Barlow, sister Edythe Denos; and grandson Zachary Barlow.
Friends and family may call Thursday, January 25, 2024, Russon Mortuary, 295 N. Main, Bountiful, 6-8 pm, and prior to funeral services 9:30 - 10:30 am at Bountiful 27th Ward Chapel, 1145 N. 200 E, Bountiful. Funeral services will be Friday, January 26, 2024, 11:00 am at the church. Interment at Bountiful City Cemetery.
Services will be streamed live on the Russon Brothers Mortuary Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin about 10-15 minutes prior to the service and will be posted below.
Special thanks to the wonderful healthcare professionals who attended to Don in recent months after a fall in early November, and to his greatest nurse and health care coordinator of all, his daughter Jenny, who both kept him laughing and, with the help of her siblings and their devoted children, made sure he was never alone wherever he was.