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Barry Schrader
The Character

Upon returning to his roots in DeKalb County Barry wrote columns for 8 years (2007-2015) in The Daily Chronicle about people, places and events in all 19 townships of DeKalb County.
After graduating from Northern Illinois University in 1963 with a degree in Journalism Schrader was hired as editor of the Byron Tribune, Stillman Valley News, and Leaf River Register, all weeklies owned by Associated Publishers (Piper and VanSickle). He then purchased his old hometown paper and printing business, the Genoa Republican, and he and his wife Kay operated it together. Soon after he also purchased the weekly in Kirkland, the DeKalb County Journal. Next he found stockholders to help him form DeKalb County Press and was able to purchase the Sycamore True Republican and Sycamore Tribune, after first starting a competing weekly called the Sycamore Sun.

In 1966 he sold his interest in DeKalb County Press and moved his family to southern California to work on the San Bernardino Sun. Next he became editor of the Livermore (CA.) Herald from 1967-1969, then left California for his roots and a new job back in Illinois. He was named editor of the DeKalb Daily Chronicle a few months after it was purchased by the Scripps-Hagadone newspaper chain. Then in 1972 he returned to California to serve as editor of the Valley Times (Dublin and Livermore area) during 1972-73, and next became editor of the Herald again from late 1973-1980. After that he changed careers to become a public information officer and science writer at Sandia National Labs/California and later served as a community relations manager at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He retired in 2006 after serving the last two years as oral historian for LLNL. Then he and wife Kay moved back to DeKalb County in northern Illinois to retire where they would be near family.
His interest in history was first kindled during high school when he was hired to scour the back issues of his hometown weekly and prepare a collection of news from 25 and 50 years ago, turning it into a column called "Looking Back." Then in 1991 he wrote a book on Livermore historical trivia entitled "Will the Last Person Leaving Livermore Please Unscrew the Bulb in Fire Station One". He also has published two books of his favorite columns in 2010 and 2015 titled "Hybrid Corn & Purebred People" volumes 1 and 2, plus contributed to the 2013 DeKalb County history book "Acres of Change".

Throughout his life, Schrader has been active in historical groups. He was a co-founder of the DeKalb County Historical Society, the Livermore Heritage Guild, and is active in the DeKalb County Historical-Genealogical Society and its "Acres of Change" book project covering the county's history from 1963 through 2012. He holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists (served as chapter president in Northern Illinois in 1966), Oral History Association, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, American Amateur Press Association, and The Fossils, a national organization that preserves the history of amateur journalism in the U.S. In 2013 he helped revive an inactive chapter of the National Grange, the Ney Grange around Genoa, Illinois which had been founded in 1929. It has now been re-activated and Barry was elected president/master on April 21, 2013. It is the last remaining Subordinate Grange ouf of nine originally active in the county.

He has been active in Rotary International for many years, serving as club president in Livermore, California where he was a member for 34 years and is now a member of the Sycamore Rotary. He is also a Paul Harris Fellow. He served as president of the National Exchange Club chapter in the Tri-Valley, president of the Livermore Heritage Guild and president of the Chabot-Las Positas College District board of trustees where he was elected a trustee for three terms. He also served on the Valley Mental Health Advisory Committee (in southern Alameda County) and was chair of that group for four years. As cancer survivors he and his wife have been active in the Relays for Life and he was given the Patient Courage Award for 2003-04 by the American Cancer Society of the East Bay. He was also named Grand Marshall of the Livermore Rodeo Parade and Citizen of the Year by the Livermore Eagles. In March 2013 he was named to the NIU Northern Star Hall of Fame. During 2009 he led a futil campaign to save the inpatient mental health unit (Center for Behavioral Health) at Kishwaukee Hospital in DeKalb.

He maintains his interest in digital photography by volunteering to photograph events for various non-profit groups. He also spends some free time nurturing a small garden of hollyhocks, sunflowers, and other annual plantings.


Photo Gallery

(Please click to enlarge)

While most teenagers were idolizing Elvis Presly and Marilyn Monroe, Barry found his heroes in the political arena. Here he meets with his Illinois Senator Ev Dirksen in 1960.
Barry is shown at a young age when he first served as editor of the Herald from 1967-69. Note the typing machine in front of him--not even an electric one.
Barry worked on the 1980 Presidential campaign for Independent John B. Anderson, greeting him here during a campaign swing through the East Bay. Congressman Anderson knew Barry in Illinois since his weekly newspaper was in Anderson's district near Rockford, Ill.

While serving as president of the Livermore Heritage Guild, Barry
invited former world champion cowboy Johnie Schneider to speak at their annual meeting. Johnie had been a Livermore cowboy when he won the world title, then the Hawaii and Australian titles as well.
Barry can be found at the Alameda County Fair most summers showing fairgoers how to print money on an antique handplaten letterpress. So far the Feds haven't found out about his unusual hobby....

Barry is shown in his signature straw hat during the filming of Livermore--The Documentary which went nationwide on PBS television. Barry was one of five or six "local eccentrics" featured in the film about the lost time capsule and the famous light bulb.
Barry Schrader served as a photographer for Arnold Schwarzenegger during his California Gubernatorial campaign and is shown here with the Guvernator at a fundraiser at the Classic Cars Museum in Danville, Calif. (Photo by Maria Shriver)

Barry meets his favorite columnist John Kass from the Chicago Tribune who cooked a BBQ at the McCormick estate
Barry can be found smiling in background of this photo with the new Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner posing with County Board member Misty Haji-Sheikh at a March 2015 event in DeKalb.
Barry as drawn by illustrator John DiDonna. Shown in the background are photos of his wife Kaye, meeting Arnold, and his illustrated book Hybrid Corn & Purebred People.

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