Charles Barnwell “Barney” Straut, Jr. passed away on Saturday afternoon, April 13th, 2019, at his home in Princeton, NJ, surrounded by his wife, children, and grandchildren. He was 93. With boundless love of family and endless kindness to all, he made this world a better place. He was a joy to all who knew him.
Born August 29th, 1925 in Suffern, NY, Barney was the first child of Maida Roe Straut and Charles Barnwell Straut, Sr. Along with his younger sister, Maida “Tinker” Straut Moore of Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ, Barney grew up first in Hillburn, NY, and then Mahwah, NJ, where he attended Ramapo Valley Day School and Ridgewood Junior High School. During his school days, he spent several formative summers at Camp Dudley on Lake Champlain in Westport, NY. He then attended St. Andrew's School in Middletown, DE, graduating in 1943. That summer, he entered Princeton University, age 17, and was drafted shortly thereafter on his 18th birthday into the Army Specialized Training Corps. He landed in Normandy in the fall of 1944 as part of the Army’s 100th Infantry Division and over time his 155 MM Howitzer Artillery unit moved across France, through the Siegfried Line and along the Moselle River. He participated in liberating forced labor camps along the Rhine River. After the war in the European Theater ended, he and his unit trained near Frankfurt in the summer of 1945 for the planned invasion of Japan. After the Pacific war ended, Barney returned to Princeton on the GI Bill in the fall of 1946 and in 1949 graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Psychology.
Barney started his banking career in 1951 with the NY Trust Company, first in Patterson, NJ, and then in New York City. By 1976, he was Chairman, President and co-founder of Horizon Bancorp after serving as President of Princeton Bank and Trust, where he had worked from 1965 to 1976. Along the way, he earned a Masters in Economics and taught Economics at Princeton University. He also worked for two years in economic development for the World Bank in Washington, DC, focusing on Venezuela. From 1976 to 1980, Barney was a Managing Director of the investment bank William Sword & Co. in Princeton, and then became Chairman of Hillside Capital, a New York City private equity firm he co-founded, from 1980 until his retirement in 1997. He was Chairman of Buffalo Color Corporation as well as Teepak Corporation.
Barney loved his schools and those of his wife, children, and grandchildren, and was generous to each of them. He was grateful to be able to endow the Charles Barnwell Straut Class of 1923 Chair in English at Princeton University in honor of his father, and the Roe/Straut Chair in the Humanities at Smith College in honor of his mother, aunt, wife, and sister, alumnae all. Barney served as a trustee of Smith College, Planned Parenthood Association of the Mercer Area, Princeton Day School, and Princeton Medical Center. He served on the board of Nassau Nursery School in Princeton as well as on the Board of National Schools Committee for Economic Education. Later in life, Barney loved reading to elementary school children through the Grandpal program at the Princeton Senior Resource Center and enjoyed serving meals with Meals on Wheels with his son, Derek. He was a devoted member of the Trinity Church congregation in Princeton and a Rotary member.
Barney met Barbara Sheldon Barry of Washington, DC at Smith College, when she was an undergraduate. They married January 31st, 1953 at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. This past January, they celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. In 1955, they moved to Princeton, where they raised their four children and have lived ever since. Barney loved sports—particularly baseball, football, tennis, skiing, hiking, and fishing. He ran track and played football at Princeton. He was proud to have represented Princeton as a sprinter at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia. Barney also loved the mountains. With Barbara, in 1969 he led his family to Sun Valley, ID, where they continue to gather. Barney loved animals, music, theater, Shakespeare, and spy stories. He and Barbara have been patrons of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra and other community organizations for many years.
Barney is survived by his wife Barbara, their four children and their spouses (David Barnwell Straut and Maureen McMunigal Straut of Washington, DC, Derek Woodhull Straut of Princeton, Leslie Roe Straut Ward and Grant Murray Ward of Princeton, and Barbara Sheldon “Shelley” Straut Goldsmith and Graham Campbell Goldsmith of Darien CT), nine grandchildren (Charles Barnwell Straut II, Catherine Roe Straut, Rosemary Casey Straut, Walker Barnwell Ward, Mason Murray Ward, Sophie Roe Ward, Campbell Youngs Goldsmith, Lily Oliver Goldsmith, and Marguerite “Margot” Graham Goldsmith), and Barney’s sister Maida Moore.
The entire Straut family wishes to express its heartfelt gratitude to Nancy and Tony Cifelli and the many caregivers who supported Barney in his later years, especially Majorie Chisholm and Monica Parsons. A memorial service will be held at Trinity Church in Princeton on Thursday, May 2nd at 11 a.m., followed by a reception at the Nassau Club. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider a gift to Trinity Church, Planned Parenthood, or Nassau Nursery School.