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Bruce Barton

Bruce Barton

Sep 4, 1930 – Feb 17, 2018

Bruce died peacefully on February 17, 2018 at his home in Dallas, TX with his family by his side.  He is survived by his children: Sonja Loar and her husband, Steve and their children Peter and Anna; Sheri Barton Livingston and her children Corissa and Enoch; Eric Barton and his wife, Noreen; sister, Kay Smith of Loveland, CO; many loving nieces, nephews and friends.  He was preceded in death by brother, Wesley Barton of Dallas, TX; sister, Sylvia Barton of Manhattan Beach, CA.

Bruce was a paratrooper in the US Army, 11th Airborne Division during the Korean War, and a 1958 graduate of University of Nebraska Law School.  Active in the Douglas County and Nebraska Republican Party, he was a Ronald Reagan delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1976. For 20 of his 27 years at Conservative Savings & Loan, he served as President of the company.

In addition to his family, many of Bruce’s tennis, bridge and social friends attended his service on Saturday, Feb. 24th in Plano, TX.

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Stanley Bruce Barton was born September 4, 1930 in Valentine, Nebraska and was the second child to his Presbyterian preacher father Thomas Andrew Barton and his wife Harriett (Erickson) Barton. It was a special day because he shared his birthday with his father Thomas. A preacher’s family may have had it as bad as anyone in the depression because preachers were not paid very well. Bruce didn’t remember hardship.

From early adolescence Bruce always had a job either all day (summer) or after school. To save money he would run to his job, saving bus fare of five cents. He often spoke of working as a soda jerk, delivery boy, gandy dancer on the railroad, laborer, waiter and catching pigeons and selling them to the Agricultural College for .10 each! Through his examples and stories he taught his children to always work hard and maintain excellent work habits.

Before the Korean War started, Bruce joined the Naval Reserve for one summer tour and served on a destroyer to Hawaii. He learned that life on a destroyer was life in close quarters and it was not pleasant. At that point, he elected to join the Army on Oct. 5, 1950. He married his college sweetheart, Lori, about a year later. He was in the 11th Airborne Division and a Unit Supplies Specialist until he left the army Oct 6, 1953.

After this Army duty, Bruce attended Law School at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After graduation, Bruce and Lori moved to Kearney where he became a trial lawyer and a Justice of the Peace and the couple started their family. Eventually, Bruce and Lori had three children: Sonja, Sheri and Eric.

A brilliant perfectionist, Bruce was obsessed with knowing all the facts of a case and quickly learned he needed a less stressful job. In 1962 Bruce was hired as an attorney for Conservative Savings and Loan in Omaha, Nebraska. Within six years, he became Executive Vice President. By 1968 he was named President at the young age of 38. Under Bruce’s leadership, only adjustable rate loans were made so when the savings and loan crisis came in the 1980’s, the Savings & Loan ranked in the top 2% in the nation for profitability.

In January 1990, Bruce moved to Brooklyn, NY, to become the District Executive for the Federal Court system. He loved his six years of this very fulfilling job. He was most proud of the famous Mafia trial of John Gotti, which was held in his court. Gotti was sentenced to life in prison without parole after three previous acquittals in other courts!

Bruce retired to Dallas, Texas in 1996 to be with his older brother Wes and his wife Barbara, two nephews as well as his middle daughter, Sheri. He would often say it was the biggest pod of family, thus the obvious choice. He enjoyed family gatherings and weekly lunches with Wes and Barb, and weekly dinners with Sheri and her family. Bruce was very family centric. He was thrilled to gather his children (Sonja, Sheri and Eric) and their families yearly on a week-long vacation in Minnesota. The purpose was to reconnect, recognize that life is good, and make new memories. He cherished watching his four grandchildren enjoy the family vacations as much as his own children did.
Bruce was an active man all his life. He enjoyed golfing and playing tennis. In Nebraska he was very involved in Young Republicans, so much so that in 1968, Bruce was the Chairman of the Douglas County Young Republicans. That year Omaha hosted the Young Republican National Convention. It was a big deal because Richard Nixon was the guest speaker and Bruce was his host. He was a Reagan delegate to the County, State and National Conventions in 1976.

He was very involved in the Dundee Presbyterian Church as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher. Bruce was also a member of Phi Gamma Delta at University of Nebraska at Lincoln, was an Omaha Jaycee, Mason, and Shriner. He joined Highland Park Presbyterian church upon his arrival to Dallas. Eventually he was elected President of his Sunday school class. He enjoyed bridge as a member of a two bridge clubs in Dallas. Since 1998 he was active in Dallas 200, Who’s Who and H&G (Hit & Giggle tennis). He played tennis until he was 85. His friends in Dallas through these groups were such a source of strength and inspiration for Bruce.

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 A memorial service to celebrate Bruce’s life was held on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at 4:00 P.M.  in Plano, Texas with Chaplain Blaine Brazier officiating. As Bruce wished, the family hosted drinks and dinner following the service at Café de France at 17370 Preston Rd, Dallas, Texas 75252.

2 Comments

  • Kathy Sramek Posted March 4, 2018 10:21 am

    Sonja, Sheri & Eric – My deepest sympathies on the loss of your father. When your family lived on Western Avenue in Omaha during the late 1960’s, I was your baby sitter – my maiden name was Hasterlo & I have fond memories of caring for you & helping your family move to your new home in west Omaha. My memory of your family was that yours was a kind, vibrant, happy family. May all your memories of father bring you comfort.

    • Sonja Barton Loar Posted March 25, 2018 5:26 pm

      Dear Kathy: Thank you for the note, I remember the Hasterlo name, for sure! I didn’t know you helped us move to the new house on 99th Avenue. I remember the playhouse and the sandbox (with a roof) at the Western Avenue house!

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