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Pauline Barrett

WATERLOO — Waterloo has lost one of its most generous residents.

Pauline Barrett, whose numerous large financial donations helped a wide array of foundations, causes and programs throughout the Cedar Valley, died at home Friday at the age of 96.

“We are awfully sad about the passing of one of our kindest philanthropists,” said Pam Delagardelle, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health-Allen Hospital. “I would say just about everybody in the Cedar Valley has benefited from her generosity.

“We’ve been grateful to Pauline for her continued and compassionate support,” she said. “Because of it, we have been able to improve the way we provide care to the community.”

Allen Hospital and Allen College were major recipients of Barrett’s donations, including a $5 million donation to a capital campaign that in 2009 helped the hospital open the $47 million Pauline Barrett Pavilion, including an emergency department and heart and vascular center.

“It was one of the largest private donations in Cedar Valley history at the time,” Delagardelle said.

Barrett also donated to Allen College, which named Barrett Forum in her honor, and more recently donated $1.5 million to help create a neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital.

But Barrett’s impact was felt throughout the community. She donated to educational, health and youth causes including the Schindler Education Center, Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, a Russell Hall addition and scholarship programs at the University of Northern Iowa.

The YWCA, Boys and Girls Club, United Way, Grout Museum, Covenant Foundation, Cedar Valley Symphony, Northeast Iowa Food Bank, Waterloo Schools Foundation, Job Foundation, Grin and Grow, Visiting Nurses, Cedar Valley Hospice, First Presbyterian Church in Waterloo and others also received her support.

“It’s truly been an honor to know her personally and work with her over the years,” said Kaye Englin, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, which will continue to make donations through the Pauline R. Barrett Endowment Fund.

“She and her husband found so much joy in giving back to our community and giving back in so many different ways,” Englin said. “When we met with her it was always so hard for her to decide because she had so many charities she wanted to support.”

Barrett was raised on a farm near Fort Dodge and moved to Waterloo by herself in 1943. She landed a job at Rath Packing Co., where she worked 17 years as an executive secretary for top officers.

In 1954, she married Dr. Sterling “Arch” Barrett, an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist in Waterloo. He passed away in 1981.

When Barrett was selected as a Courier Eight over 80 Award recipient in 2012, she said supporting others was something she learned as a child.

“I grew up in a very caring farming family,” she said at the time. “Then, I worked for my room and board to go to business college and was learning all the time.”

Despite being an avid worldwide traveler, Barrett also said the Cedar Valley compared favorably with any place she had visited.

“I like Iowa. We have good people,” she said. “But if I lived someplace else, I’d find them nice too.”

Services for Barrett will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at First Presbyterian Church with burial in Waterloo Memorial Park Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Hagarty-Waychoff-Grarup Funeral Service on West Ridgeway Avenue, and at the church for an hour before services on Friday.

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Waterloo City Reporter

Waterloo city reporter for the Courier

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