A Word From Barry Banker - Stewart Home & School

A Word From Barry Banker

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!

9 comments on A Word From Barry Banker

  1. Edna Presley says:

    Great article Barry!
    Edna Presley

  2. Diane Goetter says:

    Yes, it is indeed a place for special people, one of which you are Mr. Banker! You were there when Angela started school at SH& S! We have come to love the caring, loving, interesting man you are! Mostly, we’ve watched you come to love all the students and their families. We are indeed honored to know you and call you friend! You do a great job and it’s always a pleasure to see your smiling face!

  3. Cathy Stewart Brown says:

    We are grateful to you for your visionary leadership, compassion and love for all who are part of the Stewart Home & School family and community!

  4. Sylvia Lenhoff says:

    We hope you will continue to be a presence at Stewart. With appreciation,

  5. Dede Major says:

    Barry, you are a true gift to the students and families of Stewart Home & School. I honor all that you do and the love you share with everyone on campus.

  6. Maria Rutherford says:

    Mr. Barry: I remember your first days on Stewart Home School campus. My fondest memory was when Coach partnered you with me at Disney to provide you with the experience of being on a trip. The task overwhelmed me at first but soon I relaxed. It was in the middle of the 3 p.m. parade at Disney when you looked at me and said, Maria, you have the lead……lead us through. I did with confidence because you trusted and believed in the way we were taught to lead and care for our students. I will say it was an honor to see your heart and love for the students who won my heart 30 years ago. I may not work at Stewart Home School but heart belongs to all the students, families, and staff who have committed their lives to enrich a community of special people. Your visionary leadership impacts past, present, and future generations of students, families, and staff. I look at my first 401K monthly and say…. Mr. Barry, thank you for understanding the importance of guiding employees to think about their future and for providing this opportunity. I appreciate your dedication and commitment. I am who I am today because of Stewart Home School. Thank you for investing in me. Thank you, Mr. Barry.

  7. Dianne Green says:

    Big thank you to Barry Banker for all his dedication and helpfulness on the job. He has been so helpful and kind in making sure the students arrive safely on the transport bus at holiday times. I remember how helpful he was on the family Spirit of Peoria trip making sure everyone was properly settled in their hotel rooms and he made sure I had transportation to the airport after the boat docked. Thank you for all that you do and the kindness and caring you show to all the Stewart Home students and their families.

  8. Karen Pilkerton says:

    Big, big thanks to you, Barry for all that you do, for all these many years for SHS. Ali just adores you! With so much gratitude for you and SHS, Karen Pilkerton

  9. Anna Gilmore says:

    Thank you for all that you do. Vincent has been so happy at Stewart it truly is a place of joy and love. Will not be at Family Weekend this year but will be visiting in July hope to see you then.
    Best to you and your family

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