The Village Ludlow Electric Light Department dedicated a substation to the late Howard Barton Jr. on Friday, Nov. 8, who spent 35 years working at the electric department.
Barton was an active community member who died of a heart attack while mountain biking near his home in Ludlow on June 2, 2018. He was 55.
Barton started his career at the electric department as a lineman after he graduated from Black River High School.
Barton was one of the people who helped build the substation in the late 1980s. The substation is one of three used by the light department and it was built to balance the load from power consumed by Okemo Mountain Resort.
“Everything the electric company does is extremely well done,” said former Ludlow Town Manager Frank Heald.
During his years at the Village of Ludlow Electric Light Department, Barton believed in the power of mutual aid to help other electric utilities restore power. Barton and fellow lineman Joseph Carlisle, Jr. traveled to Florida in 2004 when Hurricane Jeanne hit the state.
“I think he enjoyed the challenges,” his mother, Mary Barton, said. “He loved going out with the crews.”
Barton also participated in the Northeast Public Power Rodeo in Burlington, where he competed against 13 teams from all around New England. Crews were required to climb poles and go through a series of tests without buckets. Ludlow Electric won the overall title. Barton came in first in the Speed Climb and the Hurt Man Rescue.
Outside of his devotion to the light department, Barton dedicated himself to his family and the town. He served as a Ludlow Selectboard member for 21 years—15 of which as chair.
He was also the town cemetery commissioner and served on the Ludlow Fire Department for 20 years.
Earlier this fall, the Ludlow Selectboard dedicated a conference room to Barton and renamed it the Howard Barton Jr. Conference Room.
“Howard was a very knowledgeable, direct, confident person,” Heald said. “He was dependable when I needed his counsel. He understood the finances of the town. He understood personnel issues in the town. He cared deeply about the school and the workings of the town and the village.”