Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Part 4 of a multipart series in memoriam of the many amazing people Geneva lost in 2012.
It's probably not socially appropriate to consider "the best wake ever," but as I said in an earlier article, John Barton's visitation at Malone Funeral Home earlier this year would be right at the top of my list. It's just the way I think we should remember the lives the people we've lost—with love and affection, joy and reflection, testimonials and funny stories. A good life is something to be celebrated—and John Barton led one worthy of the loudest cheers. There's not much I can add to the excellent stories written about John by my friend, Kurt Wehrmeister: John Barton: The Coach Who Cared So Much and Coach John Barton's Fire Puts Him in GHS Hall of Fame. Read them and enjoy. And I wish I had videotaped all the stories told by family …
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Geneva celebrates the life of a high school teacher who brought out the best in the athletes and students he coached.
John Barton's funeral Tuesday night might have been the best I've ever been to—maybe because it wasn't so much a funeral as a celebration of a good man's life. Yes, there were plenty of sniffles and more than a few tears, but there was also a great deal of laughter—as Barton's hero, Jim Valvano, might have scripted it—as well as the lasting impression of a man whose career was devoted to motivating others to be greater, perhaps, than they ever thought they could be. "He loved the Geneva community, and the Geneva community loved him back," said Barton's son, Scott. One theme that kept repeating, over and over, from relatives and friends, former students and athletes who stood to speak Tuesday, was how much Barton cared about and respected …
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
John Barton always wore his heart on his sleeve.
John Barton was—I have to say it now—quite possibly the worst postgame interview in the history of basketball coaching. I covered Geneva High basketball for The Republican during the first half of the 1980s—basically the first half of Barton’s 1980-89 run as the Viking boys’ head basketball coach. Allen Mead, The Republican’s publisher since 1950, still did almost all of the weekly write-ups of Viking football in the fall. But increasingly, after I came aboard after having graduated from the U of I journalism school in 1979, Allen (being no fool) would go to Arizona or Florida or some other warm place during lengthy stretches of the winter, leaving me to handle much of the back-page Viking hoops coverage. Even when Allen was in town, there…
Monday, August 6, 2012
Geneva teacher and coach John Barton, inducted into the Geneva High School Athletic Hall of Fame, dies after a long battle with cancer. Visitation and funeral are Tuesday at Malone Funeral Home.
Monday, August 6, 2012
Longtime Geneva High School coach John R. Barton, 71, of Geneva died Friday, Aug. 3, 2012, at Delnor Hospital surrounded by his family after a long battle with cancer. He was born May 30, 1941, in Chicago, the son of Leo and Esther (Elmhorst) Barton. John was a graduate of Proviso East High School and Southern Illinois University. He was a dedicated educator at Geneva Community High School for 27 years. He was a former athlete, devoted coach and an avid sports enthusiast. John enjoyed gardening and spending time with his family. He will be remembered as a loyal friend, mentor and supporter to all who knew him. He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Valerie (Reilly); children Jeff Barton of Lisle, Scott (Mary Kay) Barton of Evanston and …