RICOWI and Industry Suffers a Great Loss

For Immediate Release:

Powder Springs, GA — Apr 2, 2009 at 12:00 am

Mike Barton Tragically we have lost an industry giant. Mike Barton, 54 years young, drowned in a sailboat accident last week and his body was discovered on Monday, March 30th.

Mike set out on his sailboat on Sunday, March 22nd on Lake Lewisville, TX around 5:00 pm. Monday morning he contacted a friend requesting a boat towing service, as his engine broke down. The first towing company to reach him was unable to tow him due to the height of the three to four foot swells. Mike refused the offer to take him to shore and stayed with his boat. The larger tow boat made contact with him at 10:10 am to advise they would be approximately an hour due to the water conditions. When the tow boat arrived, they found the sailboat marooned on a sand bar but Mike had disappeared. Divers and search dogs were called in but the search was suspended by the end of the third day. His body washed ashore Monday (30th) near Lakewood Village (a community on a northern peninsula of the lake).

Mike joined RICOWI as an Affiliate member in March 2000. He served as a trained team member on the Oklahoma City hail storm investigation and recently as the Captain of a low slope investigation team for Hurricane Ike. He was ready to deploy with a hail team for a 2009 hail investigation. Mike imparted his knowledge of roofing products and industry standards to ensure better roofing systems and specifically was committed to finding the means to lower hail losses through research on "hail resistant" roofs. RICOWI Chair Rick Olson said "Mike believed strongly in the research work that RICOWI was doing and through ARMKO made financial contributions to the wind and hail programs, but the personal contributions he made to our organization are what really stand out."

RICOWI's Executive Director, Patty Wood-Shields said "he was always one of the first members to offer new ideas and methods for our research." She describes Mike as "the man who walked into our meeting room with a smile as big as Texas, an infectious laugh to match and enthusiasm that bowled you over. Mike was a real "people person" with a personality that energized you and he always let you know he cared."

Mike has left his indelible mark on our industry and in the hearts of his many friends and colleagues.

Michael Wells Barton
July 3, 1954 – March 22, 2009

Mike is survived by his wife Diane and two sons, Shane and Chris. A memorial service will be held Monday, April 6th at 10:00 am. The Catholic Mass will be held for him at St. Philip The apostle Catholic Church located at 1897 W. Main Street in Lewisville, TX. A reception after the Mass will be held at the church for those family and friends who want to gather in remembrance of Mike. In lieu of flowers, the family would like donations to go to the Dallas Ecological Foundation – Youth Fund and should be designated as "Tribute to Michael Barton." Mike's passion was hunting and this fund will be applied towards the future of a youth hunter who has passed all his safety requirements and does not have the means to hunt. Send checks to the Dallas Safari Club, 6390 LBJ Fwy, Suite 108, Dallas, TX 75240-6414.

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