Remembering Daniel Barratt ’06


A new financial aid fund keeps a beloved son’s memory alive

Curt and Dee Barratt were living in North Carolina when it came time to consider where their son, Daniel, might go to high school. Though Williston was more than 600 miles away, it had a family connection whose draw would prove hard to resist.

Curt was a Williston class of 1973 alumnus, arriving as a sophomore from Dover, Delaware; his late father, Ken, was in the class of 1947. “We could have sent him somewhere around North Carolina,” recalls Curt, who, after earning his degree in chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, worked for various companies in the semiconductor and photonics industries. “But we had such history with the school. I took him up to see Williston, and he loved it.”

Like his father and grandfather, Daniel thrived in Easthampton. He played football and was captain of the lacrosse team, but he also reveled in the school’s varied educational and cultural offerings. “He was a self-described nerd,” Curt explains. “He had wide interests. He was very interested in history, very interested in things that a captain of a lacrosse team would seem unlikely to be interested in. That made him a bit of a paradox.”

His life after Williston continued to reflect that expansive curiosity. At North Carolina State, he earned his bachelor’s in chemical engineering, but also developed a passion for cooking, treating his housemates to gourmet dishes. After graduation, he got a job in a restaurant and was quickly promoted to manager. By 2018 he was managing the kitchen at a restaurant in Rockville, Maryland, earning the praise of his supervisors and colleagues. All of which made his unexpected death, on his birthday that year, that much more difficult for his family.

“Taken from us at 30 years old, he left behind two sisters who loved him dearly and parents feeling his loss for the remainder of our lives,” wrote the Barratts, who this year established the Daniel C. Barratt ’06 Financial Aid Fund in his memory. “He was deprived of the full life he more than deserved, and equally tragically, we were all deprived of having him in ours.”

The new fund, which will provide a scholarship to a qualified student-athlete who plays lacrosse, is the family’s way of keeping Daniel’s memory alive. “They say you don’t really die until the last person says your name,” Curt explains. “We were obviously going to leave him money. Well, we can’t do that because he’s gone. So we said, let’s do something that he would be proud to be part of, and keep him alive long after we’re gone.”

Creating a financial aid fund at Williston had a particular appeal, he says, because the school is small enough that a scholarship can have an outsize impact. “Williston feels more like a family,” says Curt, who now lives with Dee in Hampton, New Hampshire. “You know pretty much everybody in your class. So it just felt right. It felt like the right place to memorialize Dan.”

At the same time, the family can’t help but reflect on Daniel’s Williston days in a new light. “If we knew we were going to have such a limited amount of time with Dan, we probably wouldn’t have sent him,” says Curt, noting that he and Dee traveled from North Carolina for every Family Weekend, as well as for Dan’s graduation, which Daniel’s grandfather also attended. “But Dee said she’s glad he had the opportunity to have the diverse experiences that he otherwise wouldn’t have in a public-school setting. And he loved it.”