ICR Veteran Don Barber Retires | The Institute for Creation Research

ICR Veteran Don Barber Retires
Don Barber

After 34 years with the Institute for Creation Research, Director of Enterprise Technology Don Barber will retire on March 31. God used Don’s eventful life leading up to ICR to uniquely equip him with skills and strengths to help the ministry weather many challenges and changes during his time here.

Don grew up in a Christian home,1 and he came to the Lord when he was very young. His parents held certain beliefs that conflicted with what he learned in school, like not believing dinosaurs existed. Reading Drs. Henry Morris and John Whitcomb’s The Genesis Flood and Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict helped him straighten out the conflicts.

In high school, Don became involved in scientific research, specifically marine ecology. He was one of six students to receive an Award of Excellence from Richard Nixon in the President’s Environmental Merit Award Program that year for an extensive study on Dana Point Harbor, California. Don also joined the NJROTC so he could get a scholarship to pursue aviation. His plan was to fly for the Navy and then retire to be a missionary pilot.

Don spent a year and a half at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California. Then his life took a turn when Dr. John Morris came to speak at his church about the search for Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat. Through this encounter, Don learned about Christian Heritage College (CHC) in San Diego. CHC was founded in 1970 by Henry Morris and Tim LaHaye, and its Creation Science Research Center became the Institute for Creation Research.

Don and Rebecca Barber

CHC offered a flight program that would allow Don to skip the Navy and go straight into missions. While at CHC, he met his future wife, Rebecca Morris, and through Rebecca was introduced to her father, Henry Morris. He had classes with both Dr. Morris and Dr. Duane Gish, who was instrumental in ICR’s development. Don built computers for himself during that time, and he helped CHC with their computers. His computer network knowledge began there.

After marrying in 1976, Don and Rebecca spent time in missions and then became involved in a Christian camp, where Don was a director. They maintained a number of animals, among which were llamas, pigs, horses, snakes, and birds—even hawks. They needed a federal permit for the hawks. The San Diego Zoo didn’t have one, but God provided it for Don’s camp.

Don and Julius Squeezer

The animals opened doors for ministry. Don brought the menagerie, which included a python named Julius Squeezer, to public and private schools, churches, and elsewhere to showcase God’s amazing creation. He also took animals to ICR to participate in Dr. Richard Bliss’ Good Science program, and ICR sent students to his Christian camp.

While Don was involved in camp ministry, John Morris thought he would be a good addition to the expeditions searching for the Ark on Mount Ararat. Don worked in a fire department for years. He was an EMT (emergency medical technician) and also had several rescue certifications, which Don had thought would be helpful in missions outreach.

Mount Ararat expedition

Don joined two of John Morris’ Ararat trips in the 1980s. In addition to going on the expeditions, he bought equipment and helped assemble the teams. He said going to a place where the Ark might have landed 5,000 years before brought a sense of clarity that this was a real thing that reflected real consequences.

In 1990, Don joined ICR full-time, with Rebecca working there part-time. He was first involved in constructing a new museum in Santee, California. He then worked to build ICR’s donor base, handling the IT side. Computer bulletin boards led to the first URLs, and ICR’s early involvement allowed it to acquire the ICR.org and ICR.edu domain names. Three-letter names today would cost many thousands of dollars.

Don was also instrumental in establishing ICR’s computer networks and first web pages. Today, ICR.org has grown to offer thousands of science articles, online editions of the bimonthly Acts & Facts magazine and quarterly Days of Praise booklet, podcasts and other digital media, information on upcoming ICR events, and more. Don was also an integral part of the planning and construction of the ICR Discovery Center in Dallas, Texas.

Don and Rebecca Barber with daughters Anne and Katie and son Ben

Don’s steady involvement and varied skills have made a profound difference in the growth and strength of ICR’s ministry. When asked which experiences at ICR have meant the most to him, Don replied:

First, Rebecca and I had the shared—and ongoing—experience of watching our children grow up with ICR influencing their biblical knowledge of Scripture. Second, being involved in the building of both museums (Santee and Dallas) and various building projects. Third, being a team member of two expeditions to Ararat in search of Noah’s Ark. Fourth, guiding groups in the Grand Canyon and Mount St. Helens, which display our Lord’s handiwork.

And what would he like for people to learn from his time at ICR? “A worthy ministry is worthy of a long-term commitment.” God bless Don and Rebecca in their coming years.


  1. You can read about his mother’s journey to faith in Christ in Anita’s War. Written by Rebecca Morris Barber, it’s a remarkable story of God’s protection and provision during Anita’s childhood in Communist Ukraine, her family’s escape to Germany during World War II, and the circumstances that finally led her to America. Find out more at ICR.org/store. Also check out Rebecca’s biography of her father, Henry M. Morris: Father of Modern Creationism.
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