The Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame Association
Barney Tompkins Inducted 2019 - Class of 1973
Barney grew up just three doors from the Centre Supermarket at Manhattan and Stickney, across the street from the Sabas, and the best Christmas light display in the entire neighborhood. With Manhattan's Hamilton Elementary School for preparation, and friends: Jim Frankowski, Tom Niemic, Joe Spencely, Matt Whichowski, and the late John Zydell, Barney was destined to become a Polar Bear.
One of the several Woodward stories that Barney likes to tell, involved sharing his locker with his buddy, Jim Frankowski. For obvious reasons Barney's books and school supplies were placed at the bottom of the locker while Jim placed his books and stuff on the top. When asked why his stuff was on the bottom, Barney always replied that it was easier to reach. Somehow, for a period of two weeks or so, all of their stuff in their locker had managed to change places. Barney's went to the top and Jim's went to the bottom. Even a change of the locker combination hadn't stopped the reversal of books, coats, and lunches. This went on till one day, with nearby teachers looking on,
Barney opened his locker and a five-foot paper scroll unfolded. Listed on the scroll were the names of over a thousand of his school-mates and teachers all saying "We were here." Then there was the DECA Pep Rally when Barney and his buddy Jim Frankowski, urged on by "Cuddles," dressed in short skirts as Woodward cheerleaders.
Barney attributes much of his success in life to Woodward's amazing group of teachers. The staff and teachers that formed the nucleus of Woodward were in all respects like an extended family to Barney. He singled out the following teachers for praise: Mr. Fred Cieslewski for not giving up on me, Mr. Heider for allowing my leadership abilities to develop, and to Mr. McMurray for encouraging me to broaden my horizons through reading. Mr. McMurray was responsible for Barney's interest in military history, which has led to the recognition of over 90 Woodward graduates who have given their lives to secure our freedom.
For the last 42 years Barney has worked in the automotive retail and service sales industry. From stocking shelves to all aspects of management, Barney has done it all. From advertising for K-Mart to Firestone, Barney has always been recognized by both employees and employers for his drive and dedication in sales promotions, customer and chairman awards, and local food drives. Lately, Barney has devoted a lot of his spare time on the Woodward Veteran's Project with Tom Toth. The project involved updating the War Memorial Plaque that hangs in the Woodward hallway.