Claude E. Barron, 83, died Monday, June 19, 2006 after an almost 3 year battle with cancer. A man of great character & firm convictions, he lived an honorable and interesting life of integrity & honesty. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Joy Cook Barron, their two sons and their families:
Captain Claude Barron (USN, retired), his wife, Sandy, and their three sons: Cadet Claude Barron IV (U. S. Military Academy), Patrick and Alexander, of Annandale, Virginia;
William Cook (Bill) Barron (VP, VECO Alaska), his wife, Jan, and their two sons, William (BJ) and David (both Eagle Scouts) of Eagle River, Alaska.
His niece, Cora J. Cook of Atlanta, Georgia also survives him.
Born in Clarkesville, Georgia, August 8, 1922, to Claude E. and Ruby McEver Barron, Claude and his twin sister, Carolyn were orphaned at age nine. Raised by relatives and in boarding schools, he graduated from Blue Ridge School for Boys class of 1942 in Hendersonville, North Carolina, where he was an excellent football player with collegiate prospects. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 1942, and was in the original group of paratroopers who trained in Toccoa, Georgia, as a member of the 101st Airborne Division, 2nd Battalion, 506 Regiment, Headquarter Company ( Company E of this same Regiment was featured in the book and film, “Band of Brothers”). He sustained a serious wound to his left hand on his fifth and qualifying jump. With characteristic determination he overcame the handicap to return to his Regiment for combat duty in Europe. He made two combat parachute jumps, at Normandy, June 6, 1944, where he earned a Purple Heart, and in Holland, September 17, 1944. He was hospitalized in October, 1944, and evacuated to the States to serve as a Jump Master in the Parachute School at Ft. Benning, Georgia, preparing troops for the expected invasion of Japan. After the end of World War II in August, 1945, he was discharged in November, 1945. His awards include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Parachute Wings, European Theater of Operations with two bronze stars, Good Conduct Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded to the 101 PIR for services during the Normandy assault.
After the War he became a licensed First Class Radio/Telephone Operator/engineer and then graduated from Texas Western College in August, 1953, with a BS in Mining Engineering with a Geology Option. He worked first for Atlantic Richfield and then for Rare Metals Corporation which evolved into the Mining Division of El Paso Natural Gas Company. Retiring from EPNG in 1981 his accomplishments include increasing the nation’s reserves of uranium and coal, discovering extensive copper sulfide deposits at depth near Casa Grande, AZ, and certification as a licensed Texas Professional Engineer. His prospecting took him and the family to many areas, from Alaska to Maine and from Canada to Mexico.
After retirement the he and his wife traveled extensively to Alaska, California, New England, Virginia and the Pacific Northwest visiting their five grandchildren. When not in El Paso they spent their free time at their cabin in Kingston, New Mexico, hiking the hills and enjoying the open spaces.
He was an Eagle Scout Mentor, and member of the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, 506 Airborne Infantry Regiment Association, 82nd Airborne Division Association El Paso chapter, American Institute of Mining Engineers, the Amateur Radio League, and the El Paso Amateur Radio Club (call sign: KA5HAE).
His sons and grandsons are his great legacy and they are in turn honoring his memory by carrying his strengths of honor, integrity and good character in the future.