May 5, 2017

Charles Lawrence Swafford Barton, MD

Barton, Charles obit photoDr. Charles Lawrence Swafford Barton of Lincoln, NE, died on April 19th in Scottsdale, Arizona, after a prolonged illness.  Charles was born on July 16th, 1935, in Rome, Georgia, to Frida Wesgate and George Swafford.  Following a divorce, Frida and her two sons (Wesgate and Charles) moved to Pierre, South Dakota, to be close to her family.   Frida was employed by the state of South Dakota as the state brand director for cattle, horses, sheep and hogs.


Charles´s mother remarried a local rancher, DeWolfe Barton who adopted Charles and his brother and they grew up on a cattle ranch outside of town. After graduating from Pierre High School, he attended Harvard University and finished his studies in 1957 with a degree in psychology. During his undergraduate years, he played clarinet in the Harvard band and studied with behavioral psychologist, B.F. Skinner.  After graduation in 1957, Charles was offered a seat with the Boston symphony but by that time, his mother and stepfather had sold the ranch and moved to Tucson, Arizona.  He left the East Coast and moved to Arizona but his interest in ranching and farming lasted all his life.


Charles Barton married Anne Mook in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1959. He attended the University of Tennessee Medical School in Memphis, Tennessee, graduating in March of 1965. His internship was at St. Joseph´s Hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, which was followed by a residency in ENT Head and Neck Surgery at the Ohio State University Hospital.


Shortly after finishing his residency, he was drafted into the armed services during the Vietnam conflict and served stateside for two years in the Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio. After that, he entered private practice in Lincoln, NE, where he attended patients for 40 years. In 1996, he became a board certified allergist.


While medicine was Charles’s main passion, he was equally as enthusiastic about other activities. He served as the president of the Lancaster County Medical Society, President of the Lincoln Community Foundation, and was a board member of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for nine years.  Aviation was another passion and he earned his pilot’s license in the 70’s.  Later, he would make use of his pilot’s license to attend patients in smaller cities in Nebraska without an ENT specialist.


Charles is survived by his wife his loving wife Anne Barton, Lincoln, NE; son Charles Barton, Chicago, IL; daughter and son-in-law, Valerie and Roland Kyllmann, Santa Cruz, Bolivia; grandchildren, Sebastian and Sophia Kyllmann, son Jason Barton, Scottsdale, AZ; and grandson Preston Barton.


Memorials can be made to the Lincoln Foundation. The burial will be held at Wyuka Cemetary at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, May 13.  Susanna DesMarais will lead the memorial service at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 10:30 a.m. at 6001 ‘A’ St on the same day, May 13.  Condolences may be offered at


  1. Very sad to read this. Charlie was a colleague, patient, and friend. He also saved my life. Condolences to Ann and family. Kemper and Connie

  2. Charlie was awesome. Condolences to the Family at his passing. As a first year resident in FP Dr. Barton and I struck up an unlikely discussion of “leafy spurge” in the doctor’s lounge at STE’s. I don’t recall why, but he was bemoaning the weed that was running rampant in the ditches “up at the farm”. For the 3 years of my residency, and my 4 years in Geneva, NE doing family medicine I never saw Charlie without a comment or reference to leafy spurge – it was our thing. I saw him on occasion during my 10 years back in Lincoln practicing ER medicine. I always looked forward to a conversation with Charlie. It was never mundane. Always with a note of humor. Reading his early life and training I now understand why he was such an interesting colleague. I don’t know if he knew that I went on to a career of Medical Acupuncture after ER; but no doubt he would have found that intellectually intriguing. I would have loved to have that conversation with my Friend. I will miss his wit and his embracing of Life.

  3. Charlie will be missed but remembered for his enthusiasm for medicine and life.

    Skip Collicott

  4. My condolences to the Barton Family. I have many happy memories of growing up with Charles Jr and spending time with the entire family. Dr Barton was such a kind and caring person, always taking a personal interest in our group of friends. A highlight of my summer was getting invited to the ranch, that included a plane ride from Dr Barton. Chuck, Valerie, Jason & Mrs. Barton, I miss you all and think of you often. God Bless you in this time of loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. Anne and family – I was sorry to read this about Charles. I always like visiting with Charles. He was a bright and talented doctor who kept up with ENT developments. I arrived at Harvard for my freshman year the same year Charles graduated. We were both pilots and had a mutual interest in ranching although his experience was much more significant than mine. I have thought of him frequently over the years and wondered how he was doing. My prayers and thoughts are with you in the time of sorrow.

  6. It is sad for me to hear that Dr. Barton has passed. I have thought of him over the years because he was such an intelligent and compassionate man. He and his family were so kind to me. I babysat and did light housecleaning for the family when I was 12 or 13 years old. My sympathies to the family.

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