"My life in the last forty years has been very, very busy between my family, my profession, and my spiritual life," said Barlow, "and I feel like it's time to do other things." With that in mind, he cut his time at the office down to three days a week three years ago, and, as of Dec. 31, will retire from dentistry completely.
Barlow grew up and was educated in the town of Lenox, in Southern Iowa. He earned a Bachelor's Degree from the University of Iowa in 1960, and chose to follow a different career than his father, a newspaperman, and his mother, a school teacher, graduating from the University of Iowa Dental School in 1964. He then did an internship for the US Public Health Service in Staten Island, New York. While there, he met and began dating a young dietary intern, Dorcas Nutting.
Barlow's next professional stop was Chillicothe, Ohio, where he worked for the Bureau of Prisons. Barlow was one of two dentists serving a prison population of 2000 inmates. He did marry Dorcas while in Chillicothe, but the work was not exactly what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He was in Florida when their first child, Amy, was born in early 1967, and he returned to his native Iowa in July of that year to open his office in Cherokee.
The following year, the Barlows added another member to the family when their son Nathan was born, and daughter Sarah completed the family when she was born, two years after her brother.
Dr. Barlow lives on a farm in rural Cherokee, and one of the things he plans for retirement is to spend a lot of time tending his trees, garden, and apple orchard. He also hopes to become more involved in community activities, and plans to do some traveling, including visiting his children and grandchildren. Amy and her husband have two daughters, Chloe and Lila, and live in Farmington, Minn., in the Twin Cities area. Nathan also has a daughter, Phelan, and he and his family live in the Twin Cities area, too, in Chaska. Sarah lives in West Des Moines, and she also has a daughter, Samantha.
Barlow said that he has been fortunate to have some real good people working with him over the last 39 years, including dental assistant Sandy Pritts, whom he considers his "right hand." Pritts has worked with Barlow for "20-plus years. " Sheryl O'Brien has been working part-time as a receptionist, as has Barlow's wife Dorcas, for several years. Diane Reiman is his current dental hygienist, one of an estimated five people who have filled that position through the years.
Dr. Barlow plans to "eventually" sell his office building, but wants to leave that for later. In the meantime, he will enjoy family, home, and retirement..