James Barrett
James Barrett

Obituary of James William Barrett

James William Barrett, 84, of Cambridge, MN, passed away on Tuesday, July 3, 2018 surrounded by his family.

Jim was born on November 6, 1933 in Grey Eagle, Minnesota to Leroy V. and Pearl M. (Holmen) Barrett.   After graduating from high school in Grey Eagle, Jim enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in El Paso, Texas.  It was there that he met his bride-to-be, Jean D. Helgeland, and the two would be married on June 6, 1954 in Thief River Falls, Minnesota.  Jim was also stationed in Norfolk, Virginia and the couple eventually moved to Fargo, North Dakota where he attended pharmacy school at NDSU.  He would excel in the classroom, becoming a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and an active member of Kappa Chapter while at NDSU.  Daughter, Laurie Ann, was born July 2, 1955 and when Jim graduated in 1958, he immediately began working at Anderson Drug in Cambridge for Don Anderson.   As the family made their home in Cambridge, Jim became an active member of the community, taking part in the annual Swedish Day Festival.  He was also a member of the Cambridge Lutheran Church, a founding and lifetime member of Purple Hawk Country Club and a member of the Minnesota State Pharmaceutical Association.

When Don Anderson retired, Jim eventually became co-owner of Anderson Drug, along with Charlie Phillips.  He and Charlie would become permanent fixtures at the pharmacy for over 40 years often consulting and visiting with customers hanging on the railing at the back of the store.  The store’s soda fountain was also a familiar spot for locals to gather and converse.

Jim and Jean relished their vacations to Acapulco and later, Honolulu, particularly after Jim retired in 1998.  Laurie would follow in her father’s footsteps, becoming a pharmacist herself and also graduating from NDSU.  Jim enjoyed visits from his twin grandchildren, Ashley and Patrick.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, brother Robert Barrett and nephew Neil Barrett.  He is survived by his loving wife of 64 years, Jean; daughter Laurie Barrett Coyne and husband Tom, of Apple Valley; as well as grandchildren, Ashley and Patrick; and sisters Donna Nunn and Phyllis Ward.

Jim will be remembered for his service to the community, reliability and unrelenting work ethic.  But most importantly, his legacy will be his undying love and loyalty as a husband, father and grandfather.  

A memorial service will be held at 2 pm on Monday, July 9, 2018 at Cambridge Lutheran Church, 621 Old North Main St, Cambridge.  Visitation will be one hour prior to the service, at the church, with interment at Fort Snelling National Cemetery on Friday, August 31, 2018 at 10:15 am at Assembly Area #5.  Meet at Assembly Area no later than 10:00 am.

Memorials are preferred in lieu of flowers.  Laurie has asked that there be no black attire at the service, as it is a celebration of Jim’s life.