Richard Clinton Barron
1925 - 1972
From the 1950s and into the early 1970s, Richard (Dick) Barron and his brother, Henry, were nationally noted for their work as singers and evangelists in the Seventh-day Adventist church. While both were soloists, they were widely known as the Barron Brothers, highly regarded for the warmth and beauty of their duets.
Richard was born in Los Angeles, California, on July 21, 1925, the oldest of three sons and two daughters born to Henry Clinton, a physician in California, and Emile Swift Barron. When Dick, the older of the two boys, was baptized at the age of nine, he dedicated his life to serving as a minister in the Seventh-day Adventist church. He also began singing at that age and while a student at La Sierra College, now University, was a frequent soloist while completing a B.A. in Theology.
Following his graduation from LSC in 1945, Barron married Jeanne Bickett on Christmas night of that same year. They settled in Hawthorne, California, where he began his ministry and held his first evangelistic series. They would have four children, Donna RiJeanne (Woods), Richard Clinton, Jr., Peggy, and Kitty.
The Barrons then moved to Texas, where he and his brother attended a workshop conducted by Fordyce Detamore and Ray Turner which inspired them to become full-time evangelists. They formed The Barron Brothers Evangelistic Team and worked together from 1955 to 1959, holding meetings in Texas, North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa. In 1960, when Henry became a full-time pastor, Dick and his wife joined Turner, who had been an original member of the Voice of Prophecy King's Heralds Quartet, and his wife, Ouida, to continue working as evangelists.
In 1961 Dick developed life-threatening problems in his lower back that led to surgery. While he was informed at that time that he might have only six weeks to live, a dramatic healing attributed to divine intervention led to recovery. Elizabeth Locke related the story of this ordeal and its outcome in the book Comes the Whirlwind.
A dynamic preacher as well as inspiring singer, Barron continued his ministry until April 11, 1972, when a flying accident claimed his life and that of two students at Walla Walla College, now University, near the airport in Walla Walla, Washington. In the week before the accident, he had conducted a week of prayer with the Turners at Auburn Adventist Academy near Seattle and was scheduled to assist the following weekend with the dedication of the Adventist church in Hermiston, Oregon. An experienced pilot, he had just acquired a plane three weeks prior to the accident, hoping to expand his ministry by traveling more easily to appointments.
An evangelistic and communications center which was being constructed at that time on the campus of Southwestern College, now University, in Texas, was named for him as a memorial to his work and influence as an evangelist and singer.
Richard joined with Henry to record five albums for Chapel Records and also recorded an album with Turner. Come to Jesus, My Friend, A Memorial to Dick Barron, was released posthumously in 1978.
Sources: Record liners from recordings of the Barron brothers released by Chapel Records; "Plane Crash Ends Life of Evangelist Dick Barron," Elisabeth Locke, Pacific Union Recorder, 1 May 1972, 5; Obituary for Henry Clinton Barron, PUR, 12 November 1973, 5; Book Review H.M. Tippitt for Comes the Whirlwind, Elisabeth Locke, Review and Herald, 24 July 1969, 22; "Maranatha Says It All,' Elisabeth Locke, R&H, 4 July 1974, 6,7; 1940 U.S. Census Records; Notices of evangelistic meetings listed in the 1980s in Outlook, the Mid-America Union SDA Conference magazine; Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Volume 10, Revised Edition, 1976, (Review and Herald Publishing Association) 130; personal knowledge (I met and heard them when they were working in Pennsylvania in 1949).