Barrington man turns retirement into history lesson
Longtime Barrington resident Ed Roney has dedicated much of his time in retirement to the Barrington Area Historical Society. | Photo courtesy of Ed Roney
HOMETOWN: Originally from Arlington, Va.
FAMILY: Three children we raised in Barrington. We also have seven grandchildren.”
FAVORITE MOVIE: “The Notebook.”
MUSIC: I have an iPod, but we also have a piano and we take piano lessons at Harper College.
VACATION: We take cruises. A year ago, we took a cruise around South America. We also went on a Mediterranean cruise where we saw lots of Roman ruins.
SEASON: More summer than winter.
SPORTS TEAM: The Chicago Bears, although it’s gets exciting when any of the Chicago teams are doing well.
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:08AM
BARRINGTON — Longtime Barrington resident Ed Roney wasn’t always interested in history.
He developed the new interest soon after he retired, starting with a few history classes. Now, Roney and his wife are involved in virtually all the programs at the Barrington Area Historical Society.
Often partnering with Kiwanis for many of its initiatives, the historical society’s programs are held at The Garlands in downtown Barrington.
Roney described the society’s focus as a mix of Barrington history with broader American history.
Q: How long have you lived in Barrington and why did you pick the area?
A: We have lived here for going on 35 years. We were living in Connecticut and I was offered a job from Motorola. Barrington really resembles Connecticut in a lot of ways, like the rolling hills.
Q: What about Barrington makes you proud?
A: It’s a wonderful town. It’s not too big and not too small. It’s got nice restaurants and nice people. It’s just a nice place to be.
Q: What is your favorite community event?
A: Probably the 4th of July. Usually, we’re in the audience, but last year, we drove the van with the calliope.
Q: What is your favorite restaurant or entertainment venue in town?
A: Barrington has a lot of great restaurants. The Canteen is good and Egg Harbor is good. Our favorite bad weather restaurant is Francesca’s because they have the underground parking.
Q: If you were mayor for the day, what would you do?
A: One of the major problems we have is the railroad in the middle of town. It’s always been there, but Canadian National bought EJ&E (Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railroad). Now, there’s been a huge increase in the number of trains.
Q: What has changed in Barrington since you moved here?
A: Luckily, not much. It has retained its small town feel.
Q: What inspired you to become involved with Kiwanis and the Barrington Area Historical Society?
A: Michael Harkins, president of the Barrington Area Historical Society, also is the chair of the history department at Harper College. My wife and I started taking history courses there and he introduced us to the history museum and asked us to join the board, and so we did.
Q: What got you interested in history?
A: My background is in engineering and law, so when I retired, I wanted to do something else. I started taking courses at Harper College and the first course I took was a history course. I believe it was Western Civilization.
Q: What are your future volunteering goals?
A: We’re focused on the programs. A significant one is on March 5 at The Garlands, titled “Health Care: What Can We Expect as New Laws Take Effect? Is There a Medicare Problem?” Our panel includes Karen Lambert, president of Barrington Good Shepherd Hospital, physicians George Christy, Bruce Bell and Richard McDonough from Good Shepherd, and insurance executive Steve Tucker. We also have a program on March 19 on the Chicago area during the Civil War. We have a lot of ideas, but the focal point is history.
Q: What is your proudest moment or greatest achievement with the historical society?
A: Probably the one I liked the best was the Ronald Reagan program we had last September. The man who was assistant to the president during Reagan’s last two years in office was a friend of mine from Washington, D.C. I called him and arranged to have him come to Barrington for the program.
Q: What are you reading?
A: I just read a novel that one of our neighbors wrote, “Morton’s Fork: A Doctor’s Dilemma” by Dale Coy. It’s really good. Another good book is “Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity” by Luigi Zingales. I read a lot. I love history.”