Dr. Robert Emmett Barsley

  • Born: September 12, 1952
  • Died: September 28, 2019
  • Location: Ponchatoula, Louisiana

Harry McKneely & Son Funeral Home

PO Box 2035
2000 N Morrison Blvd
Hammond, LA 70404

Tel. (985) 345-5801

Tribute & Message From The Family

Dr. Robert Emmett Barsley, DDS, JD, age 67, passed away on Saturday, September 28, 2019, at his home in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. He was the son of the late Paul and Ethel Barsley.
An internationally renowned and well-published expert consultant and sought-after lecturer in the field of forensics, Dr. Barsleywas a Professor and Division Head at the LSU School of Dentistry in New Orleans and served as Director of Hospital and Community Dentistry for the LSUSD Department of Oral Health Services.
A 1977 graduate of LSUSD, Dr. Barsleybecame a full-time faculty member in 1982, one week after the crash of a PanAm jet at Moisant Field. He worked with faculty and students in a successful effort to aid law enforcement in identifying the more than 150 victims of that tragedy.
Dr. Barsley graduated from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans in 1987 and was admitted to the Louisiana Bar that same year. Since then, he served as a consultant to numerous coroners' offices in southern Louisiana and was on staff at the coroners' offices in both Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
As a member of DMORT Region VI (United States Public Health Service), he served an extended tour of duty in the dental section of the hurricanes Katrina and Rita morgues in St. Gabriel and Carville, Louisiana, where he directed scores of dentists from all over the United States in identifying the hundreds of victims brought to the morgue. This six-month detail, using virtually all forms of forensic science, resulted in nearly all of the bodies being identified and returned to their families for burial.
Dr. Barsleywas co-chair of the Odontology Section of the Scientific Working Group on Disaster Victim Identification funded by the National Institute of Justice and the FBI.
In addition, he was a fellow of the American College of Dentists, the International College of Dentists, the Pierre Fauchard Academy, and the Odontology Section of the American Academy of Forensic Sciencesfor which he served as its 65th president and received the ReidarSognnaes Award for Excellence in Forensic Dentistry.
In 1998-99, Dr. Barsley served as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Congressional Health Policy Fellow in the office of Senator John Breaux. He served as a delegate to the American Dental Association (ADA) House of Delegates and wasthe former chairman of the ADA Council on Access, Prevention, and Interprofessional Relations.
In 2015, Dr. Barsley was awarded both the LSU School of Dentistry Alumnus of the Year Award and the New Orleans Dental Association Honor Dentist Award.
Locally, Dr. Barsleywas a member of the North Oaks Board of Directors, the Strawberry Festival Committee and the Ponchatoula Rotary Club. From 2004-2012, he was the Magistrate for the City of Ponchatoula Mayor's Court.A 1970 Ponchatoula High graduate, Dr. Barsley attended Rhodes in Memphis and LSU before entering LSUSD. In 2015, he served on the John Bel Edwards Healthcare Transition Team.
He was beloved by his friends, and his generous spirit and thoughtful nature endeared him to all who knew him.
Dr. Barsley leaves behind his wife of 45 years, Gwen Ballard Barsley, and their daughter Emily who is in her first year of residency atthe LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport. He is also survived by his sisters Paula Gatlin and Liz LaPlante (Tim), his brother-in-law Edward Ballard and sisters-in-law Sandra Moore (Bob) and Donna Devall (Tony), as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents along with his two favorite great-uncles, Emmett Irwin and Kernan Irwin.
A memorial service in Dr. Barsley's honor is scheduled for Sunday, October 27, at the Ponchatoula Jr. High auditorium. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the North Oaks Foundation online at www.northoaks.org/foundation or mailed to P.O. Box 1239, Hammond, LA 70404.

To view and sign the family guest book, please visit www.harrymckneely.com.

Condolence & Memory Journal

so sorry to hear of bob's untimely passing.a valued friend and colleague,always so generous with his time and good advice and guidence.he surely will be missed....greg dickinson ms,dds

Posted by gregory dickinson - sarasota, FL - Friend   December 09, 2019

I am so sad to hear of the passing my former boss. He was a great and kind man. I am praying for you Gwen and your daughter that God give you all strength you need to make it through these hard time. God Bless

Posted by Barbara Gair - Arlington, TX   October 29, 2019

Posted by Celeste Terry - New Orleans, LA - coworker   October 27, 2019

I am very sorry for the loss of your loved one. May your fondest memories of him comfort you. With each passing day may you receive comfort from God, family and friends during this difficult time.

Posted by A friend   October 26, 2019

So sad to hear of Bob's passing. He brought such wisdom and passion to teaching and mentoring those interested in forensics. My favorite memory is when he played our victim for a murder mystery dinner we put on during a forensic cruise many years ago. He always made us laugh and learn! He was such a joy to be around, an utmost professional, and a kind and caring gentleman. I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers are with you.

Posted by Deborah St. Germain LSUHNO School of Nursing Faculty - New Orleans, LA   October 25, 2019

I fondly recall this happy and bright young lad joining us in the 1950s Sunday School class at the First Presbyterian Church in Hammond. I extend my deepest sympathy to Gwen and the entire family and fellow friends.
Tom Anderson
Hammond, La.

Posted by Tom Anderson - Hammond, LA - Family   October 25, 2019

Posted by Suzanne and Tal Farrar - New Orleans, LA   October 24, 2019

He was the best dentist!!! Early on in the 70's he was my dentist. He was always gracious and kind. My condolences to Gwen and his family.

Posted by Norma Lafargue Vice - Nederland, TX - Friend   October 23, 2019

So sorry for your loss. Our prayers are with you.

Posted by Gordon Anderson - Hammond   October 23, 2019

Dr. Barsley was a mentor for me not only in the dental field, but also in life. While i was a student, Dr. Barsley served as the faculty sponsor for the dental students community volunteer organization . He worked with me and other students to make sure we had all of the supplies we needed to perform outreach events to better the overall healthcare of Louisiana residents. Anything we ever needed- He made it happen. I admired his committment to education and continued learning and had the pleasure of traveling alongside him to an AAFS meeting. I am happy to have known him, yet devastated to see him depart so soon. I hope to carry on some core values he help promote- being a lifelong student, giving back to the community, love for family, and love for the LSU Tigers. To the Barsley family- I am sorry for your loss and wish for your peace.

Posted by Raj Diwan - Austin, TX - student   October 22, 2019

My condolences to the family on the loss of your loved one. May the God of all comfort be with you during your time of sorrow. (Psalm 145:19)

Posted by A friend   October 16, 2019

I am saddened by this news. I knew Bob for many years as we were in the same field. He will be missed immensely, and he will never be forgotten.

Posted by Anne Cupero - Falls Church, VA   October 16, 2019

Dear Gwen and family,
We are shocked and deeply saddened at the news of Bob's passing.
We first met at the forensic meeting in Taiwan and since then have received nothing but kindness and friendship from your whole family.
I really can't remember having a conversation with Bob that didn't include a smile or a laugh.
It is an honor and blessing to know him.
God Bless
Tom and Maggie Brady

Posted by Tom and Maggie BRADY - Clinton, CT - Friend   October 14, 2019

During dental school Bob was a "B" and I was a "V"so we would wave more than talk. After school I played in the Navy and Bob did great things at LSUSD. But during countless ADA/ACD/ICD meetings we would catch up with several adult beverages. Bob will be missed but not forgotten. "Fair winds and following seas" Shipmate/classmate.

Richard C. Vinci 77'

Posted by A friend   October 13, 2019

I met Dr. Barsley one time, at an AAFS conference, in the early 90s. I was just starting out, working at the Acadiana Crime Lab, and I was still meeting all of the locals in the field. Dr. Barsley was kind enough to say "hello" and shake my hand, but he didn't have any business cards with him, so he wrote his contact info on the back of one of mine. While I did not get the chance to speak with him since, his warmth and kindness has stayed with me throughout the decades.

Posted by Arthur Young - Willow Grove, PA   October 11, 2019

When I first began studying forensic odontology twenty years ago, Dr. Barsley was already long a preeminent expert, and although his accomplishments in every field he set his mind to were vast, he was always gracious and kind with his time, expertise, and humor. It is difficult to imagine the field without him.
Gwen and Emily, may his memory always be a blessing, and know that he will remain in the hearts and minds of all who were lucky enough to have spent even a little time in his company.

Posted by Glori Enzor - Sarasota, FL   October 10, 2019

I am deeply saddened to hear of Bob's passing. He was a delight, personally and professionally. Even tempered and a quick wit. He dealt with difficult issues with the seeming greatest of ease. His work in the field of forensics was exemplary and a model for all. I will cherish the insights he shared with me, in committee work, in collaboration, in life. He was "the real deal." But that we all might serve others as he did.
I join so many in shedding a smiling tear - grateful for having grown through knowing him.

GOD BLESS. May the peace that passes all understanding be upon him, his friends, and his family.

May light perpetual shine upon him, now and always.

Posted by Jamie Downs - Savannah, GA - Friend   October 10, 2019

Dr. Barsley helped me on a number of legal cases over the past few years as a dental expert. We never met in person, always talking on the phone. Even in that interaction, his spirit, zest, and quick intelligence came through. I will miss him, and offer my deepest condolences. I hope the memory of his life brings you comfort during this time.

Posted by JD Thomas - Nashville, TN - Acquaintance   October 07, 2019

Please accept my deepest condolences on your loss. Bird will be missed. He was a force of nature and a good man.

Posted by Benny Davies - SC - friend   October 06, 2019


Posted by Davies - Bluffton, SC - Friend   October 06, 2019

Dera Gwen and Emily. I am heartbroken that Bob is no longer with us. He was a truly great man and a great friend. Nancy and I wish you both strength and optimism that he is in a better place.

Dick & Nancy Weems

I have a lovely picture of Bob and Gwen taken at the Colosium in Rome and would love for you to have a copy. Just let me know when you can and I will email it to you.

Posted by Richard Weems - Hoover, AL - Friend   October 04, 2019

Dear Gwen and family. Maruja and I offer sincere condolences. We enjoyed Bob as a friend and colleague. He will be missed.

Posted by Doug Ubelaker - Annandale, VA - friend   October 03, 2019

I have had the pleasure of knowing Robert or Bird to his friends for slightly over 50 years. I got to know him through my older brother Hardy. Bird and Hardy became good friends in high school at PHS along with many others. I graduated in 1973. Being the younger brother of Hardy, sometimes I was allowed to tag along. We partied, played poker (which they would get mad when I won), played on the river, etc. so I got to know Bird and many of his friends from school through Hardy. Bird is probably the most intelligent person I have had the pleasure of knowing. He was so smart, but he was so laid back and made you feel comfortable when you carried on a conversation. He always wanted to know about what project I was working on and he would typically know a lot about the back ground. He always had a big smile and a great laugh. I will miss him. My condolences to Gwen and Emily. Gwen, please know you can call on me if you need help with anything. I also want to know how he got the nick name of "Bird" in high school.

Posted by Steve Richardson - Ponchatoula, LA - friend   October 03, 2019

My sincere condolences to Gwen and Emily. I always considered Bob one of my mentors and friends as I become a Forensic Odontologist. His encouragement and willingness to help both me and everyone in the profession will be missed. Society has lost one of our true heroes.

Posted by Gary Berman - Belleville, MI - Friend   October 03, 2019

Dear Gwen and Emily,

All of these postings from so many people in different aspects of Bob's beloved profession of Dentistry tells the story of a great man. We all see how his dedication to his colleagues and commitments are honored, he will be missed.

Gwen and Emily, from these postings you get to see a different side of your husband and father, other than that professional guy we all knew and loved. Bob had a curious mind, great whitt, and a talent to do many things well. He was IN everything.

I had the honor and pleasure to work with and for him during my tenure at LSUSD. He was a busy man; I spent a lot of time tracking him down; so I could get my job done!! We had our moments of conflict in problem solving while designing and implementing oral health programming and policy for DHH in Baton Rouge. I had an intensity to go straight to the issue with fire; and he had a talent to cool down and create a path to satisfy all. There was the "bad cop, Connick" and the "good cop"! Bob Barsley, "Doc" was a master at diplomacy! An art.

The suddeness of Bob's passing will take us all time to digest and accept. I am so very sorry for your loss, our loss, and the aspects of him that only you and Emily know. Bob left a great story behind, he touched so many and he gave us all fond memories. In days to come our colleagues and friends will laugh and remember, never forget, his presence at LSUSD.

I am proud to have know you Robert E. Barsley, DDS,JD!!

In Faith, Love, and Prayers to the ONE who gives and takes life!
Charlotte Connick Mabry

Posted by Charlotte Connick Mabry - New Orleans, LA - Friend   October 02, 2019

Our sincere condolences to Gwen and Emily. I first met Bob in our first year in dental school , we were in the same gross anatomy lab quad with Doug , Chuck, Bob and myself. We were friends thereafter . Bobs intelligence , knowledge and humor were incredible. He never failed to impress me. I was able to spend some time with Bob this spring at the LDA Dentist Day at the Legistlsture in Baton Rouge . I will treasure this opportunity to see Bob again.
With our love Scott and Mary Beth Browning
Baton Rouge, La.

Posted by Mary Beth and Scott Browning - Baton Rouge,   October 01, 2019

Rest In Peace brother
Vinny Dmort region 2

Posted by Vincent Iocovozzi - Frankfort, NY - Friend   October 01, 2019

Bird, the most kindest,caring, intelligent, thoughtful gentleman with a great sense of humor that had the privilege to have known. Several months ago I had the pleasure to run into him. He will be truly missed by many who knew him not only in his personal life but in his professional life across this nation. RIP Bird. My thoughts and prayers are with Gwen and Emily. May God be with you both during this most difficult time for strength, guidance and healing

Posted by Diana Elizabeth Berthelot - Denham Springs, LA - Friend   October 01, 2019

Dr. Barsley was such a kind, caring, dedicated and smart volunteer for the American Dental Association. I am so glad we ran into one another in SFO recently at ADA's Annual Meeting. I just regret being in a hurry to another meeting and not spending more time with him. He will be sorely missed by all in the dental world. May he rest in peace.

Posted by JIm Goodman - Chicago, IL - Friend   October 01, 2019

Gwen and Emily, these inadequate words attempting condolence are from me personally and on behalf of Bob's colleagues and friends on the American Board of Forensic Odontology:

Compared to yours, our loss is as nothing...but we are still heartbroken.
Bob's intellect, integrity, and wise counsel were valued by all who had the pleasure of working with him. His sense of humor, generosity, and personal touch were enjoyed and felt by so many. Bob Barsley's friendship was a cherished gift to all who enjoyed that honor. We already miss him so much.

David Senn

Posted by David Senn - San Antonio, TX - friend   October 01, 2019

Dear Gwen and Emily- so very sorry about Bob's passing- he was a great friend, and I will miss him dearly- prayers!!

Posted by John Edwards - Irmo, SC - Friend   October 01, 2019

My condolences go to Gwen and Emily in this time of grief. You will both be in my thoughts and prayers. Bob was a great friend and colleague for over 20 years at LSUSD and remained so after I moved West. It was always great catching up on things when I would see Bob at National Meetings. Like everyone else, I will miss him greatly. You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Bill Davenport - Henderson, NV - Friend   October 01, 2019

Dear Gwen and Emily,
I know that the memories I have of Bob pale in comparison to those you hold, but also know that my memories are of an articulate, caring, understanding, knowledgeable presence. May the beauty of your memories give you strength and courage during this sad time.
~ Cindy

Posted by Cindy Paska - Washington, DC - Coworker   October 01, 2019

My condolences to Gwen, and Emily in your time of sorrow. All of us in forensics will always remember Bob. So sorry for your loss...

Pamela Hammel

Posted by Pamela Hammel - Grosse Pointe, MI - Friend   October 01, 2019

The legacy of Bob lives on through the many organizations and people he impacted. Our association through the Council of Scientific Society Presidents was most rewarding and I valued his wisdom, council and leadership but even more his friendship. Bob was one of the difference makers and will truly be missed!

Posted by David Baltensperger - College Station, TX - Friend   October 01, 2019

BOB BARSLEY, you were a truly great man to those hundreds of national leaders who knew you.
When someone we so admire becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.
You are gone from our sight, but never from our hearts.
Over the decades we knew each other and worked together as you served and led the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, you were always the one with the terse wit, best action plan, unwavering sense of what was right, and inspiration to your national leader colleagues, over and over again.
Condolences to Gwen and your family from our family and we pray for your comfort in this stressful and painful time.
Know that we're there for you in the future.

Marty & Daina Apple, now living in San Francisco area in CA

Posted by Martin & Daina Apple - Washington, DC - Coworker   October 01, 2019

BOB BARSLEY, you were a truly great man to those hundreds of national leaders who knew you.
When someone we so admire becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.
You are gone from our sight, but never from our hearts.
Over the decades we knew each other and worked together as you served and led the Council of Scientific Society Presidents, you were always the one with the terse wit, best action plan, unwavering sense of what was right, and inspiration to your national leader colleagues, over and over again.
Condolences to Gwen andyour family from our family and we pray for your comfort in this stressful and painful time.
Know that we're there for you in the future.

Marty & Daina Apple, now living in San FrancisNco area in CA

Posted by Martin & Daina Apple - Washington, DC - Coworker   October 01, 2019

Bob was a friend and colleague. He will certainly be missed. To his wife, Gwen and family, please accept my sincere condolences. REQEUSCANT IN PACE!

Posted by Ross DeNicola - Baton Rouge, LA - Friend   October 01, 2019

To the family and friends of Dr. Robert E. Barsley,
May the peace that comes from the many memories of love and happiness you shared, provide you comfort today and the days ahead.

Our Deepest Sympathy,
The LA Oral Health Coalition

Posted by LA Oral Health Coalition    October 01, 2019

So sorry for you loss.My prayers for all the family.

Posted by Charlene Shockley Williams - Classmate   October 01, 2019

Dear Gwen,
I have many memories of Bob at the CSSP meetings in Washington. He and Haskell were the dynamic duo. He will be sorely missed as a colleague and a friend.
I am so sorry for your loss,
Deborah Bronk

Posted by Deborah Bronk - Trevett, ME - Coworker   October 01, 2019

Gwen so sorry for your loss, Bird was always so nice to everybody and will be missed.

Posted by Skip Gill - Baton Rouge, LA - Friend   October 01, 2019

It is with great sadness that I read about the passing of Dr Barsley. I had the pleasure of working with him at the department of health. His dedication to improving the dental health of all citizens of Louisiana was an inspiration to me. He will be missed. My condolences to his family and to the staff If the Lsu School of Dentistry.

Posted by Susan Jeansonne - Baton Rouge, LA - Friend   October 01, 2019

My sincerest sympathy to Gwen and Emily.

Posted by Brenda Newman Desaix - Nampa, ID - Classmate   October 01, 2019

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Posted by AC Liles - Covington, LA - Coworker   September 30, 2019

Our deepest condolences and prayers to the family! Dr. Barsley treated everyone as equals even when we were lowly Dental students! He will be missed! LSUSD 91

Posted by James Richard Churchman - Lake Charles, LA - Friend   September 30, 2019

Bob was so loved and appreciated. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Posted by Ginny Listi - Baton Rouge, LA - Friend   September 30, 2019

Bob "Bird" Barsley You are gone too soon.

Gwen, I am so sorry for your loss. I know this was sudden and totally unexpected. He was a great friend and dentist back when I used to live in Ponchatoula with David. He was a great friend to me when we reunited at LSU Dental School these past few years. I tried to visit him there, a couple of weeks ago, at LSU Dental but unfortunately he wasn't there that day. My heart goes out to you and your daughter. Please confide in the Lord and he will guide you through this very difficult time.

Love, Cindy

Posted by Cynthia - Cindy Berwick Harrelson Moore - Harahan, LA - Friend   September 30, 2019

Dr. Barsley was a man who was as kind as he was intelligent. He was one of my teachers at LSU School of Dentistry. After graduation, he helped me on several occasions during my professional career. He will be missed.

Posted by Heidi Butler - Monroe, LA - Student   September 30, 2019

Dear Gwen and Emily, my heart is broken for you. I loved, admired, and respected Bob so much. My thoughts are with you. He leaves a void that will never be filled

Posted by Mary Manhein - Baton rouge   September 30, 2019

Bob was a gifted dentist who used his talents to assist in numerous forensic investigations. He was a friend, and I shall miss him. My prayers for him and his family.

Posted by Carla Noziglia - Aiken, SC - Friend   September 30, 2019

May his memory be for a blessing

Posted by Dr Steven and Mrs Judith Batterman - Cherry Hill, NJ - Acquaintance   September 30, 2019

I worked with Bob at AAFS and during Hurricane Katrina. He is a force and his laugh will be missed along with his intellect. Gwen and Emily our thoughts are with you during this difficult time.

Posted by Laura Fulginiti - Phoenix, AZ - Coworker   September 30, 2019

Gwen and family
Our thoughts and prayers are with you

Posted by larry Wilson - Ponchatoula, LA - Family Friend   September 30, 2019

To Gwen and Emily, our deepest condolences on this loss too early.
Bob and I took our ABFO Board exam together in San Diego in 1984. We have been friends and colleagues ever since. He was a true southern gentleman, teacher, scholar, author, scientist, husband and father. He set a shining example of professionalism in his career as a Dentist, Teacher, Jurist and Forensic Scientist. Every year at the AAFS Annual session a small group of us from several disciplines would join together for an annual dinner at a local restaurant of note. Some of my best memories are those evenings. He rose in ranks within both the ASFO, ABFO and American Academy of Forensic Sciences to hold the office of President. He served on several ADA posts as well. Bob was a person who was a guidepost you could always talk to. He was loved by many and respected by all with whom he interacted. A void that will never be filled both professionally and personally.
God Speed my friend. It is time to rest and reap the rewards of a life well lived.
Your legacy is setting a high bar for us all to strive to achieve.


Posted by John Kenney - Nashville, TN - Friend   September 30, 2019

Bob will be missed by so many that loved him. Phil and I thought the world of him.
Gwen and Emily you are in my prayers.
Susan Levine

Posted by Susan Levine - Pensacola, FL - Friend   September 30, 2019

My sincere condolences to Gwen and Emily.

Posted by Allen L. KEMP - Leander, TX - Friend   September 30, 2019