John Barr

John Timothy Barr

January 27, 1944 – April 4, 2020

John Timothy Barr, 76, passed away on April 4, 2020.

John was born in Detroit, Michigan on January 27, 1944. He was married to his beloved Donna and resided in Rochester Hills.

Upon graduation from Catholic High School, John attended and graduated with a Degree in Business Administration from Western Michigan University.

John began his career as a police cadet with the City of Detroit Police Department. Upon completion of his education, he became a police officer with the City of Kalamazoo. He returned to the City of Detroit Police Department to become a full-time police officer. He served with the DPD for more than 30 years.

John was an active member of the Detroit Police Officers Association (DPOA), serving in various capacities, including union steward and chief steward for his precinct. He was elected to the Executive Board of the DPOA and was appointed to a full-time position on the grievance committee. John was also elected to the position of Sergeant-at-Arms for the DPOA, a position he held for 16 years. In his various roles with the DPOA, John reviewed and processed grievances, participated in negotiations, and assembled data for compulsory arbitration proceedings.

After retiring from the Detroit Police Department, John began a second career as the Chief Labor Economist and Researcher for the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) and its affiliate organizations. He began service with the POAM on March 8, 2004, and oversaw the assembly of data for presentation in compulsory arbitration proceedings. John also served as a Business Agent for the Union, representing several bargaining units of public employees in negotiations and contract administration.

John remained active on behalf of Detroit Police Officer Retirees, serving on the Retiree Executive Board and the VEBA Board. He was also appointed to the Board which administered post-bankruptcy matters for retiree health care benefits.

John’s family was the most important part of his life. For many years, he was active in supporting his children in their athletic events and coached basketball in the Archdiocese of Detroit Catholic Youth Organization. John continued his active support for his family, spending many hours watching his grandchildren play sports. John was an avid fan of Detroit’s professional sports teams, especially the Red Wings.

As described by his good friend of more than 45 years, William Birdseye, Business Manager of the POAM:

“John was a dedicated, honest, intelligent, and hardworking friend and colleague. His passing brings great sorrow to the POAM family and the law enforcement and labor communities. He will be greatly missed for his wit, sense of humor, friendship, and loyalty.”

The “Dean” of Michigan Arbitrators, George T. Roumell, Jr. spoke of John’s passing:

“To everyone at the POAM whom I have had the privilege of working with over the years. The news of the pandemic has been disheartening, but until I heard of the passing of John Barr I did not understand what it meant. The loss of John was the loss of a fine human being—a great officer, a great member of the profession, and a friend. Please accept my condolences for I, for one, as all of you, will miss John T. Barr.”


George T. Roumell, Jr.

John is survived by his wife Donna, six children, numerous grandchildren, a brother, and many nieces and nephews.

John, from your POAM family who loved you dearly:

Rest in Eternal Peace Dear Friend. We will miss everything you so generously brought to our daily lives. Your immense friendship, loyalty, and honesty will never be forgotten. We will sorrowfully miss hearing your voice say at the end of each day, “Thanks for coming to work today…” You are forever in our memories and hearts.

John, as you justly deserve, may God grant unto you the Eternal repose of your soul in Heaven.

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