Douglas Ruffin Barrow, professional racing driver, aviator, sport parachutist, and businessman, completed his journey on earth peacefully, May 19, 2018, at St. James Place, Baton Rouge, LA. Born in Helena, AK, August 23, 1942, in the early months of World War II, his father stationed at the pilot training base there, Doug was the son of a military family who traveled the globe. To him, the expression “coming home” always meant coming home to Baton Rouge and St. Francisville, LA. His education included British boarding school at Wellington House, Birchington, UK; Biloxi High School, MS, Class of 1960; USMA Preparatory School, Ft. Belvoir, VA; and the United States Naval Academy.
A veteran of the 3d Armored Cavalry, United States Army, he served at the tip of the spear as a tank driver, rushed to Germany during the Berlin Wall Crisis. His career in single seat, open wheel motor racing began at the Jim Russell International Racing Driver’s School, Willow Springs, CA in 1970.
His experience included test driving, instructing (including instructing celebrities for their participation in such pro-am events as the Long Beach Grand Prix), and racing professionally at the Formula 5000 level. He campaigned a Lola T-300 in Formula 5000 series races at Riverside International, Laguna Seca, Michigan International, Mid Ohio and Watkins Glen, competing with such legendary international drivers as Mark Donohue, Jody Scheckter, and David Hobbs.
Following his racing career, he established Westforms Company in Riverside, CA, a business forms and solutions company serving medical centers and the banking industry. His enthusiasms included sport parachuting (his near 1000 jumps contributing to the establishment of the sport in its nascent years), alpine skiing, alligator hunting, and flying his Super Swift, an aerobatic vintage aircraft.
His parents, Lieutenant Colonel Ruffin C. Barrow, USAF Retired, and Natalie Lyons Barrow preceded him in death. Left to cherish his memory are his beloved, Gayle Grinsted Lawyer and her children and grandchildren; sister, N. Eileen Barrow; nephew, John Douglas Ogden and wife, Marti; niece, Natalie Ogden Raymond and husband, John; niece, Margaret Ogden Kidder and husband, Chad; eight grandnephews – Foster, Hamilton, Avery, and Ruffin Ogden; Patrick, Thomas, and Luke Raymond; and Bennett Kidder; grandniece, Olivia Kidder; and a host of family and friends.
He was laid to rest with military honors beside his parents in the Barrow family gravesite on May 30, 2018, at Grace Episcopal Church Cemetery in St. Francisville, LA. Doug’s family wishes to express their gratitude to the caregivers of The Hospice of Baton Rouge and Saint James Place for their support and comfort.