Community, family priorities for South Abington man

First Posted: 3/14/2012

Some of the words used to describe Lawrence H. Barlow are friendly, family-oriented, community-oriented, kind, devoted, wizard, passionate, compassionate and generous. Barlow, 56, a resident of South Abington Township, died suddenly on February 18.

According to his wife, Marjorie DeSanto Barlow, Esq., Larry Barlow was a family man, who “loved his kids more than anything,” He never missed a performance, recital, game or event his children were part of, said Marjorie Barlow. During his funeral mass, his daughter, Katya said of her father, “He could probably dance the Nutcracker in his sleep.” One of the phrases she (Marjorie) used to describe Larry was, “a devoted father.”

The couple met in 1985, and in 2001 and 2003, respectively, adopted their children, Katya and her biological brother, Collin, from Russia through World Links Association, Inc. Marjorie said, “It was Larry’s idea to adopt the children. I think it was his involvement with Teen Mercy that he wanted to give these children an opportunity. I remember the conversation. ‘We have to do something to give some child an opportunity.” In 2001, they hosted Katya and “fell in love with her.” The adoption followed. They also adopted her biological brother, Collin in 2003. Larry’s future plans included taking his children on a trip to their homeland, Russia, and to Ireland where Barlow has family, so the children could meet his cousins.

Larry Barlow was born February 26, 1955, in Dunmore, son of Harold Barlow, Dunmore, and the late Mary Judge Barlow. He grew up in Dunmore and graduated from Dunmore High School in 1973. As a teenager, he spent several summers working on the railroad, as a deliveryman for Gannon’s and for the post office. He was a 1977 graduate of The University of Scranton with a dual major in computers and accounting. Throughout his professional career, he was employed by Credit Union Systems, CUSA Computer Services, Veryss Computer Services, and Contel and LeHigh Data Systems Partner Data Search. Most recently, he was the business manager for DeSanto and Barlow P.C. where he handled bankruptcy and tax work, which involved “numbers crunching,” one of his specialties.

Larry Barlow also put his business and people skills to work as an active member of local organizations including Community Life Support Ambulance, Board Member; Teen Mercy; the Finance Committee of The Church of St. Gregory’s; Chairman of the Board of the Dante Literary Society; Scranton Prep Parents Club; Victor Alfieri Society; Scranton Unico National; and Villa Capri Cruisers. He also earned the Eagle Scout Award through Troop 88, St. Mary’s Dunmore.

Tim Rowland, Lackawanna County Coroner and chief executive officer for Community Life Support Ambulance, a non-profit ambulance service providing 911 and medical transportation services in Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties, characterized Larry Barlow as a “wizard.” “Larry was just one of those guys that without even a calculator could figure out things,” said Rowland. Larry joined the non-profit board approximately eight years ago, serving as finance chairman until the time he passed and bringing his astute business sense to an organization.

Rowland worked with Barlow on day-to-day financial issues, but he and Barlow were also friends. “He also became a good friend of mine. But as a board member, it’s not likely that we’ll find someone to replace him. Larry Barlow was one of those guys who would do whatever for the community. He was a community-oriented guy. He was always accessible to talk to and knew everything.”

In the works is a building project – a new 8,500 ft. ambulance facility on Keyser Avenue in Scranton that will house the ambulance service offices and the organization’s vehicles. “…This is kind of Larry’s dream to do this…We will certainly at the completion of this project do something in that building to memorialize Larry. We’re looking for someone like Larry to take his place and it’s not likely we’ll find anyone to do that…We are devastated over this (his death).”

Larry Barlow was also on the board of directors of Teen Mercy, an organization that helps underprivileged kids and teens who are considered at risk. According to Jerry Bauman, Founder of Teen Mercy, he (Barlow) was personally involved in the organization on all levels including working with the teens, assisting with programming, fundraising, and mentoring teens. “That’s why Larry and I became such close friends because he “walked the talk…When I would say, ‘Hey Larry, I need some help.’ He’d say, “Well, let’s go.”

He added, “He could walk up to a complete stranger and have a conversation with him like they were friends for 10 years. He was always giving, very generous and compassionate to other people. He had another side. He was a strong Catholic and a very prayerful person. Larry was solid in his faith. He was definitely a person of deep prayer…”

Some of his hobbies and interests included antique cars and travel. “He had a passion for cars including a ’62 Studebaker Hawk. He loved to travel and he loved the beach,” said Marjorie Barlow.

A scholarship has been established in his memory. Donations may be made to Scranton Preparatory School, the Lawrence Barlow Scholarship Fund, 1000 Wyoming Ave., Scranton PA 18510.

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