A Word From the Fifth Generation
I am Barry Banker and I had the great fortune of marrying Jean Ann Stewart 40 years ago, which makes me a 5th generation son-in-law. I have had the privilege for the past 30 years of managing the business side of Stewart Home & School. In 1987, the late Dr. Stewart allowed me to “computerize” the accounting functions of the school, a task that was to last 6 months – I like to say that I came for the accounting/computer challenge and stayed for my love for the students! I will be forever grateful to Dr. Stewart for entrusting me with so many opportunities to enhance the school. He was a great mentor and incredible father-in-law.
Early on, one of my first business decisions was to eliminate the cow-milking operation which I believe had been in place at least since the turn of the 20th century! When I informed my father-in-law that it would be best to buy milk from Kroger rather than milk the cows, he struggled with the decision as he had milked those cows as a young boy and there “was a great deal of tradition” wrapped up in producing “our own milk”. He finally acquiesced to my suggestion. It’s difficult to break tradition!
While many of my duties keep me at a desk and in front of a computer, my favorite activity over the past 30 years has unquestionably been planning and attending many of the week-long trips that we take twice a year. We have been all over the country from Cape Cod to Zion National Park and even to Great Britain. My two favorites – Beaver Creek, Colorado, where we floated a stretch of the Colorado River, rode horses, and enjoyed the beautiful views, and our Amtrak train ride from Chicago to Flagstaff, Arizona where we visited the Grand Canyon and the Red Rocks of Sedona! Our trips are always filled with fun while being educational at the same time.
Twelve years ago, I started teaching a weekly class in current events for about 30 of our students. We cover a wide range of topics from politics to sports. We begin each class with a student leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance and then discuss how fortunate we are to be citizens of our great country. The end of class is usually a spirited contest between two groups of students, each with a captain. I am continuously amazed at the knowledge of our students. I vividly recollect asking the state capital of Michigan, where upon I had to be corrected because my own answer was wrong!
All of us who “work” here at Stewart Home & School love what we do and are privileged to provide care for an service to our students – it is indeed a Special Place for Special People!