Barry Gartrell


Cullum No. 24395-1962 | December 20, 1963 | Died in Washington, DC

Interred in Druid Ridge Cemetery, Baltimore, MD


Barry Lucius Gartrell was born in Baltimore, MD, on May 5, 1939. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gartrell of Cherry Hill Road, Reistertown, MD.

Barry spent eight years at McDonough School in Reistertown, MD, and graduated as part of the Class of 1957. His classmates remember him as the unsung hero of the JV football championship team. He was known as an expert farmer who consistently showcased livestock at the local shows, but Barry’s real love and focus was lacrosse. He played three years of varsity lacrosse and was named to the All Maryland lacrosse team. His McDonogh school yearbook predicted West Point or the Naval Academy to follow graduation: It was correct.

Barry received an appointment to West Point from Senator John Glenn and entered with the Class of 1961. Barry was probably the most persistent man in our class. He spent five years getting through West Point and graduated with the Class of 1962. Being a “Goat” and facing five turnout exams during that period, Barry was never quite sure that graduation would happen.

Barry’s first love at West Point also was lacrosse. Barry joined three other classmates, Tom Middaugh, Len Butler, and Butch Darrell, on the team. At the time, all three were plebes, so they took a real beating scrimmaging an improving Army team. As a goalie on the lacrosse team, Barry joined his three classmates to act as cannon fodder while teaching the finer points of lacrosse to three of Army’s better football players: Bill Carpenter, Glen Adams, and Dick Buckner (all of whom went on to earn All American honors in lacrosse). Barry’s classmates mentioned above also went on to play a significant role on some of West Point’s best lacrosse teams, finishing first, second, or third in the league during the three years they played on the varsity. Barry’s playing time as backup goalie became limited. However, he never sulked or considered himself a victim. Barry was always seen as an integral part of those teams, persevering as a permanent, necessary, and vital fixture on the field. He sacrificed many hours at lacrosse practice, in spite of the fact that he still needed to spend many more hours in the books.

Barry loved West Point and his many friends, and he appreciated the opportunity he was given. Barry’s perseverance paid off, and he was delighted to graduate on Jun 6, 1962. His branch choice was Field Artillery. After he completed the Field Artillery Basic Course at Ft. Sill, OK, he attended Ranger school.

Barry fought his way through the rigors of Ranger School during the winter. Again, he demonstrated his greatest attribute—perseverance. As Barry’s Ranger buddy and classmate Rich Carlson confirmed, “He was hampered by a fear of heights; yet, Barry never gave into that fear. He learned to climb and repel with the best of us. And Barry’s most endearing quality was that he could carry that heavy machine gun all day and night.” Barry received his Ranger Tab on Jan 30, 1963.

Barry’s first assignment in the Army after Ranger School was in Germany. While there, Barry was injured in a vehicle accident. He was flown to Walter Reed Hospital in serious condition. He was released and sent back to Germany. However, he was soon returned to Walter Reed since his condition had deteriorated. Tom Middaugh’s parents visited him in the hospital before he died. They report that Barry had lost so much weight that they were barely able to recognize him.

When the Class of 1962 was developing the ’62 Room for the Arvin Gymnasium, a large poster featuring signatures from all class members was delivered to Reisterstown to have Barry’s father sign it for him. Growing up, Barry had lived near his lacrosse teammate Butch Darrell, who taught school there for many years. Butch thinks of his teammate every time he passes Barry’s old house in Reisterstown.

Barry loved West Point and his many friends on and off the field. It is a sad irony that Barry would die so soon after graduation without having a chance to experience the many blessings that other classmates have had the privilege to enjoy. We all remember Barry Gartrell and wonder where his perseverance might have taken him if the Lord had given him a few more years. May he rest in peace.

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