Longtime music teacher Don Barrows dies of cancer

Donald M. Barrows - Courtesy photo
Donald M. Barrows
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Mirror staff reports:

Beloved music teacher and community volunteer Donald M. Barrows died peacefully at home May 25 after battling brain cancer. He was 76.

Born on Oct. 10, 1936, in Wenatchee, he was the son of Irene and Omar Barrows. He graduated from Gonzaga University in 1961 with a bachelor's degree in music, and went on to earn a master's in music at Eastern Washington University.

Barrows was the first choir teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School when the school opened in 1969. He was also a choir director at Foster, Lincoln and Kentridge high schools.

His musical ties in the community ran deep. He helped start the Federal Way Chorale and the Puget Sound Musical Theater, and was a legendary 30-year choirmaster at St. Vincent de Paul Church.

The City of Federal Way recognized him with a proclamation for Don Barrows Day on May 20, 2006. He received the Governor's Award in 2012 for Excellence in Service with Kiwanis International.

The funeral service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, May 31, at St. Vincent de Paul Parish, 30525 8th Ave. S., Federal Way. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Don Barrows Cancer Relief Fund at The fund will help offset the out-of-pocket costs of $76,481 for cancer treatments not covered by insurance.

Barrows was preceded by his sons Paul and John and survived by this wife of 51 years, Lucille, sons Brad and Eric, daughters Kathleen Hayes and Barbara Schulte, daughters-in-law Lisa and Katie Barrows, and eight grandchildren.

(Pictured: Don Barrows had been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer last October. In December, just days before Christmas, he returned home from Mexico after undergoing an experimental treatment. A few dozen friends and former students gathered outside Barrows' front door to sing Christmas carols and wish him well.)


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