Hugh "Al" Barker
Hugh “Al” Barker was born a leader. He led by example – kindness and integrity at his core – with a strong commitment to positively impact the lives of those around him.
As an adult, he served the United States as an Army veteran of WWII where he was a prisoner of war. Upon regaining his freedom, Barker served the residents of Indiana for many years as the former CEO and Chairman of the Board for Public Service Indiana (PSI), now known as Duke Energy. In Hendricks County specifically, he was a pillar of the community who played an integral part in raising initial funds for Hendricks County Hospital. Barker was also very much involved with United Way of Central Indiana, beginning in the 1950s.
In the 1960s, Barker was part of the movement to merge Hendricks County United Way with United Way of Central Indiana. As chair of the Hendricks County campaign, Barker helped grow funds from approximately $6,000 in the ‘60s to more than $600,000 in the early 2000s. Additionally, Barker volunteered countless hours with United Way, using his influence to inspire peers and fellow community leaders to use their voices to advocate for human services agencies. In retirement, Barker widened his focus to include mentoring through prison ministry for young men who lacked a strong example in their lives, beginning with the Boys’ School located in Plainfield, Ind. The town’s Optimist Club sports complex, which is located in front of the Boy’s School, now bears his name out of respect and appreciation for his tireless efforts.
Barker also used his membership with the following organizations to bring about positive change to Central Indiana and beyond throughout his life: Plainfield Elks Club, Special Olympics, Sigma Alpha Epsilon at the University of Minnesota, Trustee Emeritus at Butler University, Director of Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and the Plainfield United Methodist Church.
For Barker, it was always about the people. He was a hero and a servant leader. Although he passed away on January 29, 2018, the impact of his numerous contributions to Central Indiana will be felt for many more years to come.