Monday, August 15, was supposed to be a day of great joy at The Fuller Center for Housing with the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure completed and with President David Snell and others en route to the heart of The Democratic Republic of the Congo on a historical journey.
But joy gave way to grief upon learning that Vice President for U.S. Field Operations Glen Barton died unexpectedly Sunday at the age of 61.
Barton was considered The Fuller Center’s "boots on the ground," traveling all over the country to assist U.S. covenant partners with construction, administration, organization and training. He was a tireless worker, logging long hours and seven-day work weeks of his own volition. Recently, he had been heavily involved in the planning of the 2011 Millard Fuller Legacy Build to be held this October in Minden, La.
The news came as Snell, Director of International Field Operations Ryan Iafigliola and Director of Covenant Partner Development Kirk Lyman-Barner were on a flight from Brussels, Belgium, to Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Efforts to reach Snell took several hours. Understandably, Snell was deeply saddened to hear the news about the loss of a longtime friend and colleague.
“Glen Barton’s life exemplified sacrificial giving,” Snell said. “Through his dedicated labor, first in Shreveport, then as Director of U.S. Field Operations, Glen did more than anyone to establish The Fuller Center across the U.S. He will be greatly missed as a fellow worker, a partner and a friend.”
“Glen Barton was well known in both Habitat for Humanity and Fuller Center for Housing circles,” said Linda Fuller, co-founder of Habitat and The Fuller Center. “With Habitat, he had responsibility for all affiliates in Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana until he became Vice President of U.S. Field Operations with The Fuller Center. Not only were Glen and wife Brenda colleagues in both ministries with my late husband Millard and me, but they have been close personal friends.
“Glen was passionate and dedicated in his 24/7 efforts assisting local groups all over the United States to eliminate poverty housing,” Fuller continued. “Brenda was always right by his side. The entire staff and Fuller Center for Housing covenant partners everywhere join with the Barton family during this time of bereavement.”
Barton was a 13-year Habitat veteran with over 30 years of experience in banking and nonprofit management. Prior to joining The Fuller Center, Glen was Affiliate Support Manager for Habitat International, doing development and interface work with various Habitat affiliates.
The Corbin, Ky., native was a former CFO and Senior Vice President of the Florida Bankers Association. A graduate of Florida Southern College with degrees in Finance and Marketing, he was also educated at the University of Oklahoma-U.S. Chamber Institute of Management, Harvard Business School of Management and Duke University Nonprofit Management program. In addition, he served in the U.S. Air Force, including a tour of duty in Vietnam.
Condolences poured in Monday from Fuller Center covenant partners around the nation.
"Glen embodied the spirit of simple, decent and affordable housing for God’s people in need that Millard brought to life so many years ago," said Charlie Park, head of FCH Webster Parish in Louisiana, host of this year’s Millard Fuller Legacy Build. "His was a different personality than Millard’s, but it was very clear to me that they were 100 percent alike in their commitment to serving people who need better housing. He was a good friend whose leadership helped get the third annual Millard Fuller Legacy Build to the point it is today, and I am grateful to him and Brenda. I will miss him greatly."
“I lost a friend, and my heart is sad,” said Mark Galey of FCH Greater Atlanta. “He really took me under his wing. He was just unselfishly always going, always giving. What an example to have. He was always there to support us. He got a lot of us started.”
“We are truly sad to learn of the death of Glen Barton,” said Rocky Powers, director of the Greenwood-Leflore Fuller Center in Greenwood, Miss. “His dedication to the philosophy of The Fuller Center for Housing was an inspiration to our covenant partner. We will miss his guidance as we continue in this ministry. The family will be in our prayers.”
"On behalf of the Board of Trustees and Staff we extend our heart-felt sympathy to his wife, Brenda, and their entire
family," said LeRoy Troyer, chairman of The Fuller Center’s Board of Trustees. "Glen was a servant leader and great encourager for the mission and covenant of The Fuller Center for Housing. His can-do attitude, pure heart and infectious smile will be greatly missed. Please join me in lifting Brenda and her family up in prayer."
“Glen was one of those very special people who defined Servant Leadership,” said Jeff Cardwell, member of the Board of Directors from Indianapolis, where he serves on the city-county council. “He was a very humble, kind and compassionate man with a can-do spirit, always leading by example. Everyone loved and appreciated Glen and he will be greatly missed.”
"Glen was a big ray of sunshine, and he always amazed me by answering e-mails and calls immediately, 24 hours a day," added board member Jackie Goodman of Atlanta. "He was such an incredible resource to the Atlanta covenant partner and to The Fuller Center at large. We are really going to miss Glen."
"Glen committed his heart and soul to the work of The Fuller Center,” said Dianne Fuller, Director of Development and Planned Giving. “He always went above and beyond his job description. He will be remembered by countless volunteers and homeowners as someone who served God by building good, decent houses for people in need. A part of Glen is in every repair, rehab and new house the Fuller Center has built across America."
“Something few saw beyond the doors of headquarters was how vehemently Glen fought to support each covenant partner and advocated for the families they served,” said Chris Johnson, Director of Communications. “He was an expert at keeping things organized, official and to the letter of the law, but he also had a soft-hearted passion for the people, especially the families. He worked to protect their dignity and always insisted upon having input on how their success stories were told. He was very sensitive to people’s feelings and concerns.”
“Glen was dedicated to the Fuller Center,” said Sheilla Snell, who handles special projects for The Fuller Center. “The work he did with the Covenant Partners was tremendous. He will be greatly missed.”
Survivors include his devoted wife Brenda, son Brian, daughter Jennifer, daughter-in-law Lisa, grandson David and sisters Dr. Jane Weddington and Emogene Poynter.
A memorial service will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 20, at Faith Presbyterian Church, 2200 N. Meridian Road, Tallahassee, Fla., where he and Brenda had lived since 1993, with interment at Andersonville National Cemetery in Andersonville, Ga., on Friday, August 26, at 2 p.m. The cemetery is located about 12 miles north of Americus on Highway 49.
In lieu of flowers, Brenda Barton has asked that memorial contributions be made to the 2011 Millard Fuller Legacy Build, c/o The Fuller Center for Housing, 701 S. Martin Luther King Jr., Blvd., Americus, GA 31709 or www.fullercenter.org/donate.