Dr. Robert Blake Barlow was born on the 10th of December, 1925 to his parents, Dr. Henry Summer Barlow and the former Alice Smith in Merlin Ontario. He attended Merlin Public School, Central Public School, and McKeough Public School for his elementary schooling. Dr. Barlow began high school at Chatham Collegiate Institute, and after completing grade twelve in 1944, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force to train as a pilot. Before he was to be deployed to Japan, World War II ended and Dr. Barlow completed his secondary education at the Meisterschaft School in Toronto.
Dr. Barlow enrolled in the ‘ex-service class of medicine’ at the University of Western Ontario. During his last summer of medical school, he accepted an internship at Chorley Park Military Hospital, in Toronto. He graduated M.D. in 1950, and completed an internship at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, in 1951.
Dr. Barlow married Janet Charlene Sheldrick in June of 1949. They had 3 children Howard, Debra, and Robert and two grand-daughters, Sarah and Kimberly.
That same year, Dr. Barlow returned to Chatham and joined his father’s Victoria Street medical practice. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Barlow opened his own general practice at 143 Thames Street, where he remained until his retirement from primary care in 1972.
During his medical career, Dr. Barlow was a delegate to the Ontario Medical Association, and he served as President of the Kent County Medical Society for a term. He also served as the Chief of General Practice at St. Joseph’s Hospital from 1960 until 1965, and he was Secretary of Staff at the Public General Hospital from 1957 to 1958.
Dr. Barlow initiated the development of Chatham’s ‘Nurses Registry’ in 1951. He was also very active in the medical community for a number of years. Dr. Barlow was the President of Windsor Medical Services, and he was the first member on the College of Physicians and Surgeon’s Medical Review Committee, a position which he held from 1971 to 1975. From 1966 to 1993, Dr. Barlow was the medical adviser to Homecare. Dr. Barlow also spent ten years reviewing disability pensions for the Ontario government’s Department of Community and Social Services. In the early 1990’s, he was appointed the Chairman of Appeals for Employment Insurance. Furthermore, Dr. Barlow created the medical programs for four large businesses in Chatham. In addition to his professional activities, he served Chatham City Council as a Councilor for three terms.
In recognition of his dedication to the medical profession and local community, Dr. Barlow was honored with the Glenn Sawyer Service Award in 1989.
In his spare time, Dr. Barlow enjoys playing golf and bridge, as well as gardening.
Mrs. Barlow died on the 8th of December, 2015. She was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
*Dr. Barlow’s father, Dr. Henry Summer Barlow also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute. Mrs. Barlow’s nephew, Dr. Peter Sheldrick also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.