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Raymond Barretto, teacher of future teachers, dies

In high school, Raymond Barretto felt a teacher didn't measure up to his standards. So he quit.

He served in World War II and eventually went back to the classroom, earning a doctoral degree and training teachers himself.

Barretto, 88, died Monday at his Huntington home. For 29 years, Barretto was a professor at St. John's University, his son Randy Barretto, of Smithtown, said yesterday. At St. John's, he served as chairman of the education department for six years.

Barretto was born in Harlem and moved to Jamaica, Queens, when he was 12. His brother, Alexander Barretto of Greenlawn, remembers his brother's brilliance in school - and his concern for others - at an early age.

"When he graduated grammar school, I believe there were six medals that were given to the students," Alexander Barretto said yesterday. "He won all of them. He requested . . . that maybe they could give one or two to the students that came in second."

Raymond Barretto won a scholarship to a prestigious Catholic high school. He lasted until 11th grade. That's when, according to his brother, Barretto corrected a teacher who mispronounced a word in English class. The teacher, irritated, told Barretto off.

Barretto quit school in frustration. Shortly afterward, he was drafted into the Army Air Forces. He served more than three years until his discharge in 1946 - and then went back to school.

Barretto earned an education degree and started teaching at Meadowlawn School, now McVey Elementary, in East Meadow. He would teach algebra, trigonometry and Earth sciences, among other subjects, before moving to St. John's in 1960. In 1969, Barretto became director of the education department for six years, Randy Barretto said. He retired in 1989.

Alexander Barretto said he remembers seeing the letters his brother would get from former students long after retiring. "College was when he was popular," he said with a laugh.

Barretto would travel all over the world, making it to Germany every year for Oktoberfest. He read voraciously, Randy Barretto said, "from People magazine to intricate science and math things." He was a devout Roman Catholic who would offer money or time to anyone who needed help, Randy said.

He took greatest pride in teaching, according to his son.

"That's what he loved the most," Randy Barretto said. "He loved the reaction he got from his students."

Barretto is also survived by another son, Reed Barretto of Hauppauge, and two grandchildren.

A wake will be held Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at M.A. Connell Funeral Home in Huntington Station. A funeral Mass will take place Monday at 10 a.m. at St. Pius V Chapel in Oyster Bay Cove.

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