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Judge James E. Barrett

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Judge James E. Barrett

  • Birth 8 Apr 1922 Lusk, Niobrara County, Wyoming, USA
  • Death 7 Nov 2011 Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming, USA
  • Burial Lusk, Niobrara County, Wyoming, USA
  • Memorial ID 80174110

Judge James E. Barrett, 89, of Cheyenne died Nov. 7 at Davis Hospice Center.

He was born April 8, 1922, in Lusk, to four-term Congressman, Governor and U.S. Senator Frank A. Barrett and Alice C. Barrett.

He graduated from Lusk High School in 1940. He wrote for both the Lusk Herald and the Denver Post during his teenage years.

He married the former Carmel Ann Martinez in Rawlins on Oct. 8, 1949. They made their home in Lusk for 18 years where he practiced law under the firm name of Barrett & Barrett. He served 10 years as Niobrara County and prosecuting attorney, town attorney for Lusk and Manville and Niobrara School District attorney. He was a trustee of St. Leo's Catholic Church, Commander of American Legion Post No. 4, and president of the Lions Club and the Lusk Chamber of Commerce. He was always proud to call Lusk his home.

He was a member of St. Mary's Cathedral in Cheyenne and served for 17 years as a trustee of St. Joseph's Children's Home in Torrington. He was an active member of Cowboy Joe Club, the Cheyenne Quarterback Club, the Laramie County Bar Association and the Ewing T. Kerr Inn of the Court. He closely followed the football and basketball fortunes of the University of Wyoming and the University of Notre Dame.

He is survived by his daughter, Ann Sandahl and her husband, John, of Carlsbad, Calif.; son, Richard Barrett and his wife, Rosemary, of Cheyenne; son, John Barrett of Cheyenne; sister, Marialyce Tobin of Casper; sister-in-law, Jacqueline Ferrall of Cheyenne; granddaughters, Elizabeth Sandahl, Caitilin Barrett and Kelly Barrett; grandson, Thomas Sandahl and his wife, Kirsten; and two great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Carmel Ann Barrett; parents, Frank A. Barrett and Alice C. Barrett; brother, Dr. Francis Barrett; sister-in-law, Harriet Barrett; and brother-in-law, Richard Tobin, former president of the Wyoming State Senate.

From Wyoming Tribune Eagle November 10, 2011

Judge James Barrett, who served on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for 40 years, died Monday in Cheyenne.

He was 89 years old.

A vigil is set for 8 p.m. Friday at St. Mary's Cathedral in Cheyenne. A funeral liturgy will follow at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, also at St. Mary's Cathedral.

Barrett, a former state attorney general, became the third Wyoming judge to sit on the federal Court of Appeals when President Richard Nixon appointed him to the position in 1971.

He became a senior judge on the court in 1987. In that position, he was allowed to serve in a more part-time status. He acted in that role while living in Cheyenne until his death.

Friends and colleagues said Barrett was renowned for his stringent work ethic and passion for law that fueled him to continue working well into his 80s.

"He had an overarching sense of responsibility to his county and the law," said Judge Terrence O'Brien, who was one of Barrett's successors on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

"He always believed in the rigorous application of the law, and he was not one to excuse wrongdoers from their conduct just because they may be sympathetic."

Barrett, the son of former Wyoming Gov. Frank Barrett, was born in Lusk.

After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II and graduating from the University of Wyoming's College of Law, he started a private law firm in 1949.

He would later serve as the county and prosecuting attorney in Niobrara County, the town attorney for Lusk and Manville and the Niobrara School District's attorney.

In 1967, former Gov. Stanley Hathaway appointed Barrett to serve as attorney general.

Edward Grant, a former Laramie County District Court judge, first met Barrett when they worked together in the attorney general's office.

Grant said the amount of work that Barrett performed in that role and then later in his career was "legendary."

One example of this, he said, is when Barrett first took office as attorney general. He learned that other state employees were given a day off for Arbor Day.

"During out staff meeting, (Barrett) said, 'That might be the case for some state employees, but we are expected to be here and work,'" Grant recalled. "He was just very avid in the pursuit of his duties."

In addition, Grant said Barrett's work ethic was equally matched by his wit and compassion.

"Intellectually, he had a first-rate mind and could quickly and accurately analyze the law," Grant said. "He was technically very astute, but he was not just a mere technician of the law as he always kept in mind the actual consequences of his decisions."

Gov. Matt Mead also praised Barrett as example to follow as a judge and a Wyoming citizen.

"Judge Barrett was key to establishing and maintaining Wyoming's reputation as a state that provides outstanding representation on the federal judiciary," Mead said in a statement. "His quality as a judge was matched by his character as a person."

Barrett's son, Richard, said outside of practicing law, his father was an enthusiastic golfer and reader of histories and biographies.

Richard Barrett said his father also was passionate about his home state and the need to protect "ordinary" citizens everywhere.

"His roots were deeply in Wyoming; he felt a kinship with Wyoming people and ordinary people of every walk of life," Richard Barrett said.

"He loved to use the law to solve problems. He was so fascinated by the law, but mainly fascinated in terms of how the law can be used to make peoples' lives better."

Family Members

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  • Created by: Lostnwyomn
  • Added: 10 Nov 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 80174110
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Judge James E. Barrett (8 Apr 1922–7 Nov 2011), Find A Grave Memorial no. 80174110, citing Lusk Cemetery, Lusk, Niobrara County, Wyoming, USA ; Maintained by Lostnwyomn (contributor 47168791) .