This was a great Executive Institute but for me the great presenters were key, but along with that, my mind always floats to people who I missed having present or my concern to make sure all went well despite the fact we can always make improvements, which we will do. One very special person I missed was a gentleman who in all Executive Institutes for at least 20 of our years “motored up” from his home on the edge of Hyannis Port each day of the Institute to greet the early arriving attendees.
John Barter each day would wear a white shirt with a tie in the hottest of days and would do anything he could to help, including greeting arriving presenters, running off copies of documents of all types on multi-colored paper (before the computer and go green age) until the machines broke down. John knew every trick to restart the copiers as presenters, panelists, attendees lined up for copies.
John started with me in Falmouth where we began our Executive Institute and he knew the key staff as he had served as an administrator for years in the district before retirement. We had a great team in Falmouth and they would do anything to help us succeed. Renovations at Falmouth High made it essential that we find a new home for the Executive Institute. When we moved to Mashpee, John just assumed he would come along with us and that he did to meet another whole list of a new Mashpee staff from superintendent to school and town employees who greeted us with class.
Just about five years ago John’s wife passed away and John explained that for medical reasons he needed to step back and did so spending his time in hospitals, nursing homes, working to regain his stamina.
While many folks kept in touch with John via a cell phone, John became invisible to most of our superintendents who would ask how John was doing and to be honest, I did not have an answer. This year after our Executive Institute, I was determined to find John but fearing the worse. I went to John’s known residence to me on Angell Road, where I found a young lady entering the house and asked if John Barter still lived there to which she responded that she was visiting a friend but thought John or the occupant left in February for a nursing home or could have passed away.
Not feeling very pleased on my search, I asked myself how I could find a more accurate answer on John and the thought came to me to go to the Barnstable Town Hall and check with the Town Clerk’s staff as they may know.
One of the fine ladies in the Clerk’s Office offered to help and sure enough found that John was in that home until February, when he went to live in Brewster at the Pleasant Bay Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 120 Woodlands Way, Room 218, Brewster, Mass. 02631, which is right off the mid-Cape. That clerk at Barnstable Town Hall made my day.
I knew my mission for the next morning was clear, as I had a Brewster visit coming and that I did. When I entered the very nice facility, I asked for John’s room and the receptionist said, I think he may still be at breakfast and could I wait. Knowing John was in a dining room having breakfast gave me another good feeling, as John loved to eat, which obviously fueled his high energy level always there to go that extra mile and do anything for all superintendents at the Institute.
After approximately a half hour, John emerged from the lunch room to the lobby and I called out to him. His smile lit up the room and he came over to me and and we greeted each other and sat in the lobby for almost an hour, going over his life since we last talked. I told him how so many superintendents often ask for him, he filled up and commented, “they have such a tough job.” Before leaving, I presented him with our silver anniversary shirt and as you will see, he is wearing one from earlier years. Hopefully, many can send John a note at the address I listed as he would love to hear from you.
My best always,
Director of Professional Development & Government Services
JETTY defined as a pier or structure of stones, piles or the like, projecting into the sea or other body of water to protect a harbor and deflect the current.