Donald M. Barnett

July 2, 1931 ~ October 18, 2022 (age 91)
Read more about the life story of Donald and share your memories in the Tribute Book.    


Longtime Brookline, MA resident Donald M. Barnett, M.D., passed away peacefully after a brief illness, post-surgery, surrounded by family on October 18, 2022, at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He was 91. Dr. Barnett was a senior physician at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School assistant clinical professor of medicine, and curator of the Joslin Diabetes Center Historical Commission. He was one of the last physicians to be mentored by the renowned pioneer in diabetic research, Dr. Elliott Joslin, and his writings on the life of Dr. Joslin became a passion project later in life.

Dr. Donald Barnett was born on July 2, 1931, the son of Michael Barnett and Eleanor McDonald Barnett of Potsdam, NY. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame and McGill University medical school. A historian at heart, Dr. Barnett brought an enthusiasm for archival research to the changing landscape of modern medical practice. His commitment and character stood out as he was awarded co-recipient of the Frank and Jean Ring Memorial Award in the Fight Against Diabetes.

Throughout his life, Dr. Barnett enjoyed world travel and summers on Cape Cod with his extended family and friends. He could be seen reading, writing, listening to classical music, gardening, and enjoying an endless supply of dark chocolate. He will be missed for his intellect, wit, humor, charm, and above all else, a kind and caring heart.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Grace, his children, Elizabeth Barnett Cummings (Christopher), John Barnett, Maria Barnett Gray (Timothy), and sister Ann Louise Curran. He cherished his five grandchildren, Matthew, Caroline, Alexander, Charlotte, and James, as well as many nieces and nephews. He will be missed by countless friends, colleagues, and former patients. Dr. Barnett is predeceased by siblings Gerald and Joseph.

In lieu of flowers, gifts can be made in memory of Dr. Donald Barnett to:

Joslin Diabetes Center at One Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215

The Funeral will take place on Saturday, November 19, 2022 at 10:00am, at the Church of Saint Ignatius Loyola in Chestnut Hill, MA.

Mass will be livestreamed at


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Funeral Mass
November 19, 2022

10:00 AM
St. Ignatius Church
28 Commonwealth Ave
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

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In Loving Memory Of

Donald Barnett

July 2, 1931-October 18, 2022

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