Barrett, McCormick executive

J. C.

January 25, 1995|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

James Clark Barrett, a retired McCormick & Co. Inc. executive and decorated World War II naval aviator, died Monday of pneumonia at his Ruxton residence. He was 79.

Known as Clark, he began his career at McCormick as a salesman in 1938. After World War II, he returned to the spice company as assistant sales manager for the Midwest.

He was appointed director of trade relations in 1954, a position he held until retiring in 1976. He also had been a member of the company's senior board of directors since 1949.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1941. After initially being rejected for flight training because of dizzy spells, he followed a friend's suggestion that he take the examination again and not tell the examiner of his health problem.

After graduation from flight school in Pensacola, Fla., he was assigned to the carrier Hornet. For his actions in the Battle of Midway in 1942, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

"With utter disregard for his own personal safety," read the citation, "Ensign Barrett participated in persistent bombing and strafing attacks against fleeing enemy forces."

He received the Air Medal later that year for his role at the Battle of Santa Cruz, an integral part of the Guadalcanal operation, during which the Hornet was sunk by enemy aircraft.

Deprived of their ship, the Hornet's planes were forced to land on the carrier Enterprise. It wasn't until all of the other planes were safely landed and his gasoline gauge was on empty, that Mr. Barrett landed his plane.

As one of Baltimore's early war heroes, he was honored by by Mayor Howard Jackson at a dinner in the Emerson Hotel in late 1942.

He finished the war aboard the escort carrier Natoma Bay, which was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation and saw action in the Leyte, Luzon, Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns. He was discharged in 1945 with the rank of lieutenant.

Born and reared in Baltimore, he was a 1934 graduate of the Gilman School and earned a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College in 1938.

He was active in college and high school alumni affairs and was a member of the Baltimore Country Club, the Maryland Club, the Elkridge Club and the Lone Palm Golf Club in Lakeland, Fla.

In 1974, he married the former Eleanor G. Goodenow, the widow of his brother, David Barrett, who died in 1971. She died in 1993.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Boyce and Carrollton avenues, Ruxton.

Survivors include a brother, John H. Barrett of Encinitas, Calif.; a sister, Susan B. Matthews of Baltimore; a stepson, Rufus K.G. Barrett of Stewartstown, Pa.; three stepdaughters, Isabel B. Rich of Stevenson, Kinglsey B. Brooks of Ruxton and Sarah A. Barrett of Vienna, Austria; and 10 step-grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 43025, Baltimore 21236-0025.

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