Creator of iconic 'Fremd Booster Buggy' dies
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent
A former president of the Fremd High School Booster Club who created the "Fremd Booster Buggy" out of a retired mail truck had a far more lasting legacy.
Fred Barr died July 30 after a long illness. The Inverness resident was 88.
The Fremd Booster Buggy was an iconic symbol -- with its juiced-up amplifier system playing music during parades and at home football games -- but Barr's contribution to the applied technical classes was vital.
Barr worked in sales management for International Harvester for more than 30 years before retiring in the early 1980s. He was already a well-known member of the booster club when school officials approached him about tapping into his resources with area businesses and manufacturers.
It was 1984, when the state passed legislation to form cooperative regions as a way to put an emphasis on career and technical education. The Northwest Suburban Career Cooperative Region included Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, Northwest Suburban High School District 214, Barrington Unit District 220 and Harper College.
"Fred was one of those people who went out and made connections with industry leaders, enabling us as educators to be up on the trends and industry needs," said Chuck Chamberlain, former applied technology chairman at Fremd.
In addition to his work during the school year, Barr set aside a week each summer for faculty members to tour local companies and meet with industry leaders.
"We got to visit Motorola, Square D, tool and die companies and auto dealerships," Chamberlain recalled. "It was a unique opportunity for educators to get into these places and learn about their needs."
Chamberlain and former District 211 Superintendent Richard Kolze said Barr was among those who helped pave the way for the advanced manufacturing program that opened in 2012 at Harper College.
"He played a vital role in bringing education and industry together -- and helping students enter the workforce," Kolze said.
Barr played just as large a role in community circles, with his involvement in the Palatine Lions Club, where for years he supervised the eyeglass collection, and with the PADS program at the Presbyterian Church of Palatine.
"He just had a kind and caring heart," said his son Fred.
In the late 1980s, Barr became a PADS site director when the church agreed to participate as one of the faith-based shelters.
Barr managed the church's site and its volunteers for 15 years. In 2006, he was honored by Journeys the Road Home for his dedication to the PADS organization and people affected by homelessness.
"He was the heart and soul of our PADS program from the beginning," said Anita Kern, a church staff member.
Barr was preceded in death by his wife, Edie, who died in June. Besides his son Fred, he is survived by sons Christopher and Steven (Laurie), as well as four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Visitation will begin at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 12 before an 11 a.m. memorial service at the Presbyterian Church of Palatine, 800 E. Palatine Road.