Longtime Provincetown resident Robert W. Barrett died on Nov. 6, 2023 in Homosassa, Fla., surrounded by his family. His death at 65 was caused by complications of lung cancer.
Robert was born to Richard W. Barrett and Shirley Patterson Barrett in Washington, D.C., where his father worked for the U.S. State Dept. He had two older brothers, Christopher, who died in 2005, and Patterson.
In 1969, 10-year-old Robert and his family moved to Manhattan. Equally passionate about politics and the arts, Robert first earned a political science and government degree from American University and then accepted a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.
Always a citizen of the world and happiest on a beach, Robert visited and lived on many coasts in California, Australia, and Thailand, ultimately making Provincetown his home base. He opened his clothing shop, named Robert Barrett, at 146 Commercial St. in 1984.
In 2008, Robert took up residence at Foley House in Provincetown. He became a fixture at the house, surpassing other residents and staff in number of years there.
Robert had opinions and enjoyed sharing them, which made him well suited for the clothing trade. After closing his own store, he worked in numerous local clothing shops in sales, buying, and store design.
Generous by nature, Robert enjoyed volunteering for the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival each year, was the first to help friends in need, and was a regular contributor to numerous political candidates and causes.
“Uncle Bobby” to his family and “Robert” to the world, he was sharp-witted, funny, and tenacious — he attended the Orlando Magic season opener with his brother and nephew less than two weeks before he died. He could be testy and exasperating. But he was always treasured by family and friends. The world is dimmer for his passing.
Robert is survived by his brother Patterson, his sister-in-law Kathy Wells, his nephew Emerson Wells-Barrett, all of Homosassa, Fla.; his niece Dana Wells-Barrett of Austin, Texas; and his many friends.
Donations in Robert’s memory can be made to the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod.