Harry Barr

Harry Barr, who cofounded Bank Iowa in 1976 with a pair of business partners, passed away July 1 at the age of 84.

Barr, along with Robert Duncan and his father Donald Duncan, started the Des Moines-based bank with their purchase of Citizens State Bank in their hometown of Clarinda, Iowa. That $25 million bank is today a $1.5 billion family-owned bank with 25 locations across the state of Iowa.

Barr served on the bank and holding company boards since its founding, and according to Plagge, has been a steady, encouraging force supporting the bank’s growth and development over nearly 50 years. He most recently served as a contributor to the bank’s strategic plan development, an initiative that set the trajectory for the bank’s continued year-over-year growth.

“Harry was a man of adventure and action,” said Bank Iowa President and CEO Jim Plagge. “He quickly answered the call when there was work to do or a cause that needed assistance. If he saw something that needed to be done, he either did it himself or mobilized and empowered a team of people to make it happen. His influence is a huge part of our culture and the values we work every day to live out.”

Barr was born on Oct. 18, 1935, to Hal and Nell (Hartstack) Barr. A founding member of Duncan Aviation, he worked for the company for more than 50 years. He was instrumental in bringing the Iowa Aviation Expo to Clarinda in 2005.

An accomplished pilot, Barr flew many models of jets, helicopters and airplanes, including his P-51 Mustang fighter, and was one of the first pilots certified to fly Learjets when they were introduced in the 1960s. Among his adventures in the skies was flying helicopters in support of the Minuteman missile construction project in the panhandle of Nebraska, as well as aerial firefighting in Alaska.

Memorials can be directed to the Midwest Aerobatic Club in Clay Center, Neb.


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