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Longtime Longmont resident writes book about time in Peace Corps

Donna Marie Barr describes her time posted to Samoa when she was 57 years old

Donna Marie Barr, who called Longmont home for more than 20 years, recently released her debut memoir, “My View from the House by the Sea: A Life Transformed by Samoa and the Peace Corps.”

Barr’s memoir reflects on her Peace Corps service in Poutasi, Samoa after retiring. Barr always thought about joining the Peace Corps, but circumstances weren’t ideal. Originally hailing from Nebraska, Barr joined the U.S. Air Force after college and relocated to Texas. She then lived in Hawaii before settling in Longmont to raise her kids in 1983.

After retiring from her career as a real estate asset manager for the State of Colorado, Barr moved back to Hawaii and reconsidered the Peace Corps.

“I retired when I was 55 and moved back to Hawaii where I had previously lived. And that felt like a momentous decision in and of itself, but once I got here, I realized, you know, there's something more. And I always thought about the Peace Corps,” Barr said. “Then I got posted to Samoa when I was 57 years old in 2007 and so my memoir is about that adventure that changed me in so many ways, much more than I ever would have expected.”

While living in Longmont, Barr said her kids attended local schools from kindergarten until Front Range Community College. During her life in Longmont, she served as chair of the Longmont Planning Commission and managed former Longmont Mayor Julia Pirnack’s campaign.

“My View from the House by the Sea” is available at the Longmont Public Library. Barr is excited to display her memoir in a town where she spent a significant part of her life. Her book is also available at local Barnes & Nobles and online.

“One of the first things you want to do [after writing a book] is share it because that's why you've written it, right? The fact that it's on library shelves and bookstores is such a thrill,” Barr said.

Her memoir stems from the journal entries she wrote while living in her host family’s home. She said the experience and relationships she built are still present in her life, and she’s excited to visit her host family later this year.

Barr hopes that her chronicles of life after retirement, inspires readers to not see age as a barrier to adventure.

“I hope that they, first of all, enjoy the adventure, reading vicariously traveling to the South Pacific with me,” Barr said. “And then for those who are my age, you know, or at least the age I was when I went to the Peace Corps to stop and pause and say, ‘Well, what do I want to do for my second act or my third act in life?’ and realize that you can take on a big challenge, no matter how old you are.”



Ali Mai

About the Author: Ali Mai

Ali Mai is freelance writer and photographer, covering business for the Longmont Leader. She writes the weekly column "Longmont Local."
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