Tri-City Ledger -

By Joe Thomas
Ledger Editor 

Barton worked to help the entire city

Brewton councilman dies; funeral Saturday

 

August 9, 2018

Barton

Cheryl Barton said her husband loved people and loved helping people and wasn't going to let the fact that he was confined to a wheelchair stop him from doing what he love most. Brewton City Councilman Fred Barton died Monday night at his home less than two months after having a tumor removed from his spine.

Barton's funeral will be held Saturday at the T.R. Miller High School auditorium in Brewton with visitation from 12 noon to 2 p.m. with the funeral starting at 2 p.m.

A graduate of Southern Normal School, Barton joined the Brewton City Council as the District 5 representative in 2008 and was serving as mayor pro-tem at the time of his death.

"He loved people," Cheryl Barton said Tuesday of her husband. "Every year he would send Christmas cards to his constituents. He started filling out those cards for this year last week."

Cheryl said her husband went to bed about 10:45 p.m. Monday feeling fine, but soon began feeling pain and was soon gone.

On June 19, Barton had a tumor removed from his spine that left him paralyzed from the waste down.

"That wheelchair wasn't going to keep him from doing what he wanted to do," Cheryl said. "He wasn't going to let that stop him from helping people."

She said he was told a few weeks ago that Fred had been nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP and the banquet was scheduled for Sept. 22.

She said she selected T.R. Miller High School for the funeral because of her husband's love of the school.

"We never had any children playing basketball but we became basketball parents and for more than 30 years we served as chaperons on trips," Cheryl said. "We did it because we wanted to give back to the community."

The Bartons had two daughters and adopted three granddaughters. They had two great granddaughters and adopted a grandson.

"We didn't have any boys, so we had to go out and recruit one," she smiled.

Although people knew Barton had some health issues, his death came as a shock.

"Fred's passing comes as a shock to all of us at city hall," said Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace. "I knew and respected Fred as a public servant diligent in his service to the people and dedicated to improving his city. He will be sorely missed and difficult to replace on our council."

Fellow Councilman Joe Watson said he has known Barton for most of his life and his death also came as a shock.

"I can't remember when I didn't know Fred, but we became close when he joined the council," Watson said. "He was a great man, a compassionate man and cared about people."

"He wasn't just an Alco councilman," Watson said. "He cared about the entire city."

He said Barton was instrumental in bringing Caring Hearts from Pensacola twice a year to hand out food in Brewton and pushed other councilmen to attend the Alabama League of Municipalities classes to make them better council members. Through that training, Barton was a certified municipal official. Watson also said Barton was instrumental in getting a street in Brewton named after the Rev. H.K. Matthews.

"Although he wanted to help anywhere he could, he loved Alco and worked to take care of the people in Alco," Watson said.

He said Barton was instrumental in developing the park and the lake in Alco.

"I could go on and on about Fred," Watson said. "He always gave good advice, even if you didn't like the advice he was giving you. But his heart was always in the right place. He's going to be missed."

Escambia County Commissioner David Quarker spent more than 15 years with Barton in the Army National Guard in Brewton and the two were dispatched together to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm/Shield.

"I'd known Fred for 15 or 20 years before we went over there," Quarker said. "He was a good fellow. He always shot straight with me and has always been a friend to me."

Barton spent 42 years in the national guard, eight years in the Air Force and 34 years in the Army before retiring as a First Sergeant.

 
 

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