Born in Poteet, Texas, in 1921 to Judge and Mrs. H.D. Barrow, Charles Wallace "Charlie" Barrow was educated in the public schools of Atascosa County and graduated from Jourdanton High School. In 1943, he received his LL.B. and JD from Baylor University School of Law.
Some of his many awards include Baylor University Lawyer of the Year (1972), Baylor University Distinguished Alumnus (1982), Distinguished Jurist Gavel Award, St. Mary's University (1978), Greenhill Judicial Award from the Texas Municipal Courts Association (1979) and Outstanding Fifty-Year Lawyer, Texas Bar Foundation (1998). Judge Barrow was also a Thirty-Third Degree Scottish Rite Mason and an active Methodist Layman.
On October 1, 1984, Judge Barrow became Dean of his alma mater, Baylor University Law School, after a distinguished career as a member of the Texas judiciary. During his tenure, he increased Baylor's endowment and enhanced its teaching staff, and is responsible for the elevation of Baylor University Law School into the position of national prominence it enjoys today. He retired in 1991 and returned to a private life on his ranch near San Antonio.
Former Dean of Baylor Law School David Gunn described Barrow as a "distinguished jurist, a lawyer of unimpeachable integrity and widely respected." Current Law School Dean Brad Toben said upon Barrow's death that he "learned much from him about decency, character and loyalty." Judge Charles Barrow is remembered for his dedication, sincerity, character and lifetime of service.
Judge Barrow practiced for 13 years as a trial attorney before beginning his career as a judge of the 45th District Court in San Antonio. He then served 15 years on the 4th Court of Civil Appeals – 10 as Chief Justice – before being appointed to the Texas Supreme Court.
Judge Barrow was elected to serve on the Texas Supreme Court in 1977 and was re-elected to a six-year term on the Supreme Court in 1982. During his career on the bench, he earned the reputation as one of the "workingest judges" in Texas. He served on numerous committees, published articles, co-edited books and authored more than 700 published opinions.