Tribute to an Icon - Jack Barton

We all have a person who made an impact on our career development. I was fortunate to have a mentor who was a huge success in the insurance business. Jack Barton was a Regional Director for Standard Life. He covered eight states, including Illinois.

Jack Barton

He gave me a shot of being an MGA with them at age 24 and with Standard Life that was a "true" managing contract. Later I was hired to be the new Regional Director - replacing Jack. I only accepted because he encouraged me to take the position. He said "Jeff, if that job treats you half as good as it treated me, you will be a blessed man."

Now keep in mind, this was less than a week before he was fired by them, and yet he had the wisdom to advise me to take the position. I later hired Jack back as a MGA, and when I offered him the position he actually cried with emotion that he would love to come back to Standard Life.

He used a line that I will never forget (and have used myself) – "These companies will never forget your name if you always have big numbers that follow your name." He had tons of class and style, and when he called to say he was coming to see you, it was like the President of the United States of America was coming to town. He was chauffeured in a big white Lincoln limousine and had a driver named "Catman." In the early 80's no one had a personal limo, and had a phone in his car before bag phones even remotely common. He lived next door to Johnny Cash in Nashville.

Jack had several unique qualities, but his best one was the way he treated people. He made veterans in the business feel good, or a brand new greenhorn feel special. In return he was admired by most, and taught many along the way how to be better at this job.

I feel bad that I had not had contact with Jack in quite some time but I think of him often have great memories of him. Jack Barton passed away and left this world on June 20, 2014.  I am blessed to have met the man and appreciate all he has done for me.


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