Who were Matt and Evelyn Barron?

Matt Barron was the Director of the Portland City Hospital in 1946. The facility had been known as the Farrington Hospital when the City recognized the need for vast improvements. Matt was the Assistant Director of the Welfare Department when he was promoted. Matt graduated from Cheverus High School, Holy Cross College and did graduate work at Notre Dame University in Social Work.

His wife, Evelyn, a registered nurse, was the Matron of Nurses. Together they had a vision that would take the Portland City Hospital through many needed changes. At the time the City Hospital still provided medical and surgical care in addition to care for those with chronic conditions. The focus was on the poor and elderly, and the goal was to provide improved services and care for Portland's most vulnerable residents. They wanted not only to improve care but also change the image of care the City provided.

In the 1960s the hospital's mission began to evolve and focus on extended nursing care for the elderly, chronically ill and disabled individuals. The compassionate care for the community's elders is what drove Matt and Evelyn. The Barrons knew families wanted to provide care at home for their elders, but because of increasing needs and scarce resources, this was rarely possible; City Hospital was the resource. And the Barrons made it their mission to provide the best care and comfort for these individuals and their families.. Matt Barron was known in the Portland community for his charity. As early as 1956, Evelyn Barron wrote "we need a 200 bed long term chronic geriatric hospital, on these grounds extending down Holm Avenue. In 1956 she thought of occupational and physical therapy and rapid return to the community was the approach to take. What pioneers!

The Barrons retired in 1974, after 28 years of service to the City of Portland, and eight years before the building of the Mathew I. & Evelyn A. Barron Center, dedicated in their honor.