Kathy and John “Jack” R. Barkley ’74
John “Jack” R. Barkley ’74 had deep roots at Valpo. He and his wife, Kathy, carefully considered what their legacy would be and decided to include Valparaiso University as a beneficiary in their will. In 2016 they formalized their plans and, sadly, Jack passed away suddenly in August of 2019. Kathy is thankful she and Jack put their wishes in writing through a gift agreement with Valpo and has peace of mind in knowing their future commitment will be used in a way that is meaningful to her and Jack.
We are grateful to share Jack’s Valpo story.
When Jack Barkley enrolled at Valpo in 1970, he became the third generation of family members associated with the University. “My father attended Valparaiso University in the late 1930s,” he said. “My grandmother attended in the early 1900s. She was living in one wing of Lembke Hall in 1901 while the other wing was being constructed. My grandfather was a brick mason, and he was working on constructing the other wing. They struck up a conversation there, and a few years later, they were married.”
Jack always shared his pride in Valpo’s campus, as his grandfather was involved in the construction of many buildings. “My grandfather was the head brick mason on Guild, Memorial, and Dau-Kreinheder residence halls. The last building my grandfather helped build on campus, before he retired, was the Chapel of the Resurrection,” Jack says. “He laid the first two rows of block for the Chapel himself. I can’t drive by or go into the Chapel without always thinking of my grandfather!”
After graduating from Valparaiso High School in 1970, while deciding what college to attend, Jack knew he wanted to stay in the Midwest. “I looked at a number of schools in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa and decided that Valparaiso University could provide me with the quality education I wanted,” he says.
In addition to receiving a quality education, Jack was a member of the senior class steering committee, which oversaw graduation exercises and Senior Week activities, and the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, of which he served as the Alumni Board President shortly after graduation. To show his gratitude for the education that prepared him for a successful and fulfilling career, Jack and his wife Kathy decided to name the University a beneficiary in their will.
Jack met Kathy at his first job in mortgage banking and worked in that industry for 41 years, retiring in 2015. Like Jack, Kathy worked in the mortgage banking industry and then transitioned to the title industry until her retirement in 2013. They were married 33 years and enjoyed traveling together throughout the United States, being outdoors, and playing golf.
Jack’s legacy embodies Valpo’s tradition of faith, leadership, and service. The careful planning he and Kathy did prior to his passing will ensure support to Valpo in perpetuity through an endowed fund that will be created through their estate plan. While Jack will be deeply missed, the University is grateful for this commitment and honored to be included in Kathy and Jack’s estate plans.
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