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Robert H. Barstow

Feb. 18, 2007

Dr. Robert H. Barstow, professor emeritus and former director of the Western Michigan University School of Social Work, died Feb. 9 at his home in Portage, Mich. He was 87.

Barstow joined the WMU faculty in 1965 and served as director of the School of Social Work from 1974-77 and as associate director from 1968-74. He returned to full-time teaching in 1977 and retired in 1983.

A native of Ithaca, Mich., he interrupted his studies at WMU to serve in the U.S. Army from 1941 until the end of World War II. He returned to WMU, earning a bachelor's degree in 1948 and a master's degree in social work at the University of Michigan in 1953. Barstow was an advocate for both children and the elderly. His professional experience from 1946-65 included service as deputy director of the Children's Charter of Courts of Michigan from 1961 until coming to WMU; two years as state director of the Michigan Children's Aid Society; director of the Kalamazoo Council of Social Agencies for two years; and director of the Kalamazoo Branch, Michigan Children's Aid Society, for two years. He also had been a caseworker, a juvenile agent and child welfare worker in Kalamazoo County.

In 1978, he was appointed by Gov. William G. Milliken to a 15-member task force on crime prevention for the elderly in Michigan and served on the Kalamazoo County Social Services Board of Directors for more than a decade.

Barstow wrote and produced many service articles, guides and studies for the use of organizations or for social planning and spoke before many professional groups engaged in social services and in juvenile-court functions. He was an active volunteer for the American Association of Retired Persons and traveled throughout Michigan's lower peninsula to talk with businesses about the retirement needs of employees.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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