John Barrett, 1943-2011

May 26, 2011

In addition to being a noted parasitologist, university lecturer and administrator, John Barrett was also known for his selfless dedication to others.

Born on 21 October 1943, Professor Barrett gained a scholarship to study zoology to the University of Cambridge. He graduated in 1965, and remained at the institution to study for a PhD, which was awarded in 1968.

For the next three years Professor Barrett held a National Institute of Health research fellowship at the University of Massachusetts, then in 1971 he returned to the UK to take up a Browne Research Fellowship at The Queen's College, Oxford.

In 1973, he moved to the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, which later became Aberystwyth University, where he remained until his retirement in 2005.

Professor Barrett joined as a lecturer and worked his way up as senior lecturer, professor, head of the department of zoology, dean of science and finally pro vice-chancellor.

Upon retirement, he was persuaded to stay at the university temporarily as interim head of the department of sport and exercise science during the search for a permanent head.

Professor Barrett's contribution to the department and to the university was officially recognised with the naming of one of the new sport and exercise laboratories in his honour.

John Fish, former dean of the faculty of science at Aberystwyth, recalled Professor Barrett as someone who was "very, very kindly".

"I remember having problems with my research and needing answers to questions and it was John who took a lot of time to try to introduce me to the methodologies that would bring me to a new area of research to solve the problems I had," he said. "There was little in it for him; he was in a different research field. It was a genuine attempt to help."

He added: "He was not tolerant of people who did not give their best. But anyone who really did try, regardless of ability, John was very sympathetic towards, and would bend over backwards to help."

Dr Fish also spoke of Professor Barrett's enjoyment of horticulture. "We both shared a love of gardening," he said. "John's wife has ponies and they produce an essential ingredient for gardening that he was happy to share with me. His garden was very impressive and we spent many hours relaxing there chatting about gardening."

Professor Barrett died of cancer on 29 March. He is survived by his wife, Penny, and two daughters.

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