Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Parsons College to add 10 names to wall

Oct 02, 2017
Dick Barton

The Parsons College Alumni Association and Parsons College Foundation Fund will induct 10 more people to the Wall of Honor Saturday at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

This will mark the ninth year the association and foundation fund have inducted Parsons College alumni to the prestigious wall. Next year, No. 10, will be the annual induction ceremony’s final year. Dave Neff, president of the foundation fund, said they are running out of space on the wall.

The honorees will be introduced at 10 a.m. in the Stephen Sondheim Center for the Performing Arts. A presenter will say a few words about the recipient, and then invite them to the stage to accept the award and address the audience.

A luncheon will follow the ceremony at the Elks Lodge. A “welcome back” reception will be held from 3-7 p.m. Friday at the Fairfield Golf & Country Club. Coinciding with Parsons College’s weekend of events, the Lee T. Gobble statue will be unveiled at 6:30 p.m. outside the convention center.

The 10 honorees are Richard Barton, Michael Brouwer, Sandy Konrad McCullough, Tony Demacio, Franklin Falks, O. Frank Repass, Arnold Rothschild, John “Jack” Sullivan, David Switzer and William “Bill” Winger

The Ledger will feature two inductees every day this week leading up to Saturday’s ceremony. Today we start with Richard Barton and Michael Brouwer.


Richard Barton, Class of 1966

CENTERVILLE – Barton was a Fairfield townie of modest means. He attended Fairfield High School, played football and graduated. He had no idea he would attend Parsons College, earn a master’s degree in physical education at Northeast Missouri State University and return to southeast Iowa years later as superintendent of the Van Buren County School District.

“Coming from a family that had never had a member attend a liberal arts college or university, Parsons was not a college of second chance for me. I felt it was my only chance,” he said. “Parsons’s educational innovations and the techniques used were way ahead of their time. The college established a foundation for students to pursue their chosen professions and to be successful in life. Parsons was a hallmark institution and I am grateful I was able to be a part of it.”

His first job was at Keota High School teaching math and science while coaching five sports. Barton moved to Ottumwa High School, but that assignment was interrupted when he was drafted by the U.S. Army.

He served in Vietnam, then returned to Ottumwa School District where he spent the next seven years, while also attending the University of Iowa and Northeast Missouri State. His big move came in 1978 when Saydel High School offered him the positions of assistant principal and principal.

The Fairfield native returned to Northeast Missouri State and earned a specialist in Education Administration Superintendent Certificate. That experience laid the foundation for a 14-year journey to Wrangell and Anchorage, Alaska, as administrator and superintendent/principal of both junior and senior high schools in 1983.

He then returned to Keosauqua for eight years, prior to retiring to the Black Hills of South Dakota. Barton has been a leader in the remodeling and renovation of older schools and the building of new schools. After leaving each and every school district bigger and better, he is now permanently retired and living in Centerville.

Over the years, his passion for kids has also been a priority. Anything to do with kids and he’s there. He is a member of the Moose Lodge, Elks, Rotary and Lions clubs and has been an active volunteer in every small community he’s called home. Dick and wife Joyce, of 34 years, have no children. His presenters are Butch and Betty Downey.


Michael Brouwer, Class of 1961

GREEN VALLEY, ARIZONA – “I was a naïve, country farm boy from Garner,” Brouwer began. “I came to Parsons in 1957 as part of the largest freshman class in the college’s history. Parsons College with its outstanding professors, staff, fraternity brothers and many others ‘grew me up.’” Brouwer said his association with Millard Roberts and Parsons opened many possibilities and opportunities that he never knew existed. When it came to Chamber of Commerce leadership, guidance, vision and service in the state of Iowa, one would have to go a long way to surpass the contributions and impact made by Brouwer.

His 39 years in Fairfield, first as a Parsons College student, then director of student activities, culminated with him serving as executive vice president of the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce. During his tenure in Fairfield, he served as president of the Iowa Chamber of Commerce Executives, received the 1995 Iowa Statesman of the Year Award and joined a number of boards as a director.

Since being lured away by an offer he could not pass up, and a tearful departure from Fairfield inn 1996, Brouwer became president and CEO of the Burlington/West Burlington Area Chamber.

In addition to his positive influence on education, the highway system, creating jobs, housing improvements and improving business relationships and development, he successfully relocated three Italian companies to the Business Park, and built a $40 million ethanol plant in the area.

One state executive recently said, “Mike’s eagerness to learn and his natural desire to always give back more than he received deserved recognition at its highest level.”

Thanks to Mike Brouwer, Fairfield, Burlington and the state of Iowa are a better place to live.

Brouwer, now retired, lives in Green Valley, Arizona with wife Kay. They have two grown children and families.

He will be presented by his sister, Beth Brouwer Hoyt.

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