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Barton A. Fields

May 22, 1930 ~ April 19, 2022 (age 91)

Obituary

Family man, Churchman, Career Public Servant, Civic Leader, and Activist

 

Barton Archibald Fields was the first of three children born to the late Daisy A. and Archibald A. Fields on May 22, 1930, in Philadelphia, Pa. His parents had immigrated to the United States from Barbados in 1920. After starting their family in South Philadelphia, they sent their sons Barton, and his late brother Carl, to Barbados, West Indies for their primary education. His sister, Eileen, currently resides in Mt. Vernon, N.Y.

 

After graduating from South Philadelphia High School for Boys, Barton earned a degree in Political Science from the Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA. In addition to working several jobs to finance his education, Barton became a charter member of the Delta Theta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, Incorporated and was the charter Polemarch. A life member, Barton was also a charter member of the Harrisburg alumni charter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

 

After graduation, he served in the United States Army gaining the rank of Staff Sargent in charge of a Primary Communication Center in the Republic of South Korea.

 

Barton had a long history in the struggle for social justice. In 1948, with the A. Philip Randolph labor movement, he picketed the Democratic National Convention and petitioned President Truman to integrate the United States Armed Forces. Barton was a past President of the Harrisburg Chapter of the NAACP and sectional director of the Pennsylvania State Conference of NAACP branches. His involvement was a family affair as his wife and both children were in involved and held offices in the NAACP.

 

In 1957, Barton married fellow Philadelphian Violet Wilkins and moved to Harrisburg, Pa. to begin a career in State Government that spanned 40 years. They raised two children, a daughter, Lynn Marie and son, Barton Anthony.

 

A lifelong Episcopalian, in his youth, Barton served on the altar at St. Simon The Cyrenian Church in South Philadelphia. In Harrisburg, Barton became an active member of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church serving on the vestry and the altar.

 

Barton was a trailblazer, entering state service in 1957 as the first Black person to serve as a Personnel Management Specialist in the Governor’s Office of Administration. He went on to hold positions in various departments including the Public Utility Commission and Auditor General’s Office. While serving as a Deputy in the Department of Education, he took pride in recruiting Black educators from southern colleges to integrate the Harrisburg School System.

 

His career in government culminated with his appointment as Secretary of the Commonwealth in 1977. Barton came out of retirement in 1987 when the late Governor Bob Casey, Sr. appointed him as Secretary of Revenue. Barton was the first African American to serve in that position.

 

His civic engagement was extensive and included Chairman of the Harristown Development Corporation, President of the Harrisburg Junior Chamber of Commerce, elected member of the Harrisburg School Board.

 

In retirement, Barton enjoyed being an active volunteer for AARP-PA. serving as a member of the National Legislative Council and the State Legislative Committee. He also was a board member of the Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz and served on the board of the Capital Area Health Foundation.

 

After being widowed in 1983, Barton remarried twice. In 2014, he moved to the Philadelphia area to be closer to his children.

 

 

On Tuesday, April 19, 2022, in Wyncote, PA, Barton went home to be with the Lord.

 

Left to cherish his memory are his daughter, Lynn Marie Harris (Thomas) and son, Barton Anthony Fields (Gwen); sister, Eileen A. Griffith (Grenville); sister-in-law, Delores Fields; three nephews, Carl Fields Jr. (Terry), Aaron Griffith (Yves Cossette), and Marcus Griffith (Jenne); and niece, Andrea Fields; great nieces and nephew, cousins; extended family, friends, and fraternity brothers.

 

Memorial contributions may be sent to: St. Simon the Cyrenian Church, 1401 S. 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146

 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Barton, please visit our floral store.


Services

Memorial Mass
Friday
May 6, 2022

11:00 AM
St. Simon The Cyrenian Episcopal Church
1401 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19146

Committal
Saturday
May 7, 2022

2:00 PM
St. Stephen's Episcopal Cathedral
221 N. Front Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Please note
***Kappa Alpha Psi service to begin at 10:00 AM***
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