Donald H. Barrett


July 2, 1933 - September 5, 2013

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Donald H. Barrett, 80, well known victim advocate passed away Thursday at the VA Medical Center in Syracuse.
Born in Tupper Lake, NY to the late Patrick and Irene Barrett. Donald was an 1951 graduate of Tupper Lake High School. He attended Ryder College; enlisted in the US Army during the Korean War, advancing to the rank of Administrator First Sergeant; and graduated from SUNY Canton in 1957.
Donald moved to the Syracuse area in the 1960ís working as an insurance agent. He became President and owner of the Byrne Insurance Agency in Syracuse and eventually owned the Donald Barrett Insurance agency in Chittenango, NY. For a short time Don was employed as a certified property manager at Clinton Plaza Apartments in Syracuse.
Donald lost his son Michael in 1984 due to a drunk driver. Since then he devoted his work life to assisting crime victims. He was well-known throughout the victim service community for his compassion and energy.
In 1985 he founded A.V.I.D. (Assisting Victims of Impaired Drivers)and later Justice Services Info-net. A.V.I.D. assists victims in finding their way through the criminal justice systems and refers victims to agencies for help. Its purpose is also to focus on prevention and education. For many years as the director of A.V.I.D. and president of C.C.A.D.D. (Concerned Citizens Against Drunken Driving) he continued the yearly anti DWI effort, first established by Janet Besse, in organizing the "Lights On Caravan" held in December to remind people to not drive drunk. In later years he was assisted by the efforts of the Onondaga County Traffic Safety Advisory Board. He also ran a Stop DWI booth at the State Fair for 12 years, first sponsored by CCADD and later by the STOP DWI Program.
Don developed a Handbook for Victims, Families and Friends titled, "Are You a Victim of a Drinking Driver". He also developed the COM NET Program which is used in driver education programs in various agencies and schools, primarily in the Manlius Pebble Hill School Program.
In 1992 he instituted and became the director of the Victim Impact Panel Program in Onondaga County sponsored by the Onondaga County STOP DWI Program. He was also instrumental in initiating panels in several surrounding counties over the years. He continued to present at the Oswego County Victim Impact Panel.
From 2001 until his death he was a member of the New York Sheriffs' Victim Advisory Board under the auspices of the New York State Sheriffs' Association Institute, Inc. As such he was helpful in expanding the reach of its hotline/ automated statewide information and notification service known as VINE (Victim Information & Notification Everyday).
Don facilitated, presented, and held memberships in many organizations across the state and country and often was the victims' spokesman on radio and tv programs. He was active in numerous professional, state and community organizations including: NOVA(National Office of Victims); RID(Remove Intoxicated Drivers); Fight Crime Invest in Kids; Teens Crime & the Community; NYS Crime Victims Board; RAID (Rochester Against Intoxicated Driving Inc.); Coalition For Crime Victims of Western NY; Syracuse Onondaga Drug & Alcohol Abuse Commission; Onondaga CountyTraffic Safety Advisory Board; & OCM BOCES New Visions DWI Awareness Programs. He was involved in countless Crime Victims' Rights Vigils in NYS and Fl. and worked with many school SADD groups. He presented workshops at SU classes and the Syracuse City Police Academy.
In addition he was a member of M.A.D.D., the Onondaga County DAAC(District Attorney's Advisory Council); the Onondaga County Association of Magistrates; and served on the board of directors of Hope for the Bereaved. His memberships included Chemical Peoples Task Force, Syracuse College Community Coalition; I'm Smart; Think First of NY; Neighborhood Watch; and Blue Goose International. He served many years in the Chittenango Lions Club and the Syracuse Lions Club where he was President. Most recently he was a member of the Syracuse Sunrise Rotary.
He was an avid reader and chef; SU football and basketball fan; and loved the Adirondacks where he was a founding sponsor of the Wild Center in Tupper Lake.
Surviving are his wife, Sue Ellen Kirschenheiter of Baldwinsville; his daughter Deborah (Gary) Panebianco of Cazenovia; his step daughter Pamela (Scott) Gottheld of Manlius; his step son Fred (Katrina) Kirschenheiter of Liverpool; his sister Alice Barrett of Santa Fe, NM; his grandchildren, Daniel and Lauren Panebianco; Brooke (Michael) Mapother, Sarah and Taylor Kirschenheiter, and William and Christopher Gottheld. And his great grandchildren, Gaberiel and Emma Mapother.
A mass of Christian burial will be held at 10am on Thursday at St. Annís Church in Manlius.
Calling hours will be 4-7pm Wednesday at the Traub Funeral Home, 7975 RT 31, Bridgeport, NY.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to M.A.D.D., Hope for the Bereaved or any of the above organizations.