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Rest in Peace: Jean Howard Barr

JHB International's Founder and CEO.

by Staff Report (May 18, 2009)

Jean Howard Barr, Button Baroness, passed away peacefully in her home May 8. She will be fondly remembered as Mrs. Barr by her loyal JHB employees. She was the matriarch of the Barr family and will be missed immensely. Her presence will remain with all of us as she has touched each one of us in her special way.

Her legacy is her family and JHB, which she founded in 1969. This year marks JHB's 40th anniversary, and the company is still owned and operated by the Barr family. Mrs. Barr was an incredible businesswoman with very strict standards, and her employees said she always encouraged them to have high expectations. Mrs. Barr gave 100% all of the time from the largest project to the littlest of detail she wanted it done to perfection. Her employees were very loyal to her many worked for JHB for more than 20 years. She created an incredible environment for her employees; you don't find a company like JHB where loyalty matters both from the company to the employee, the employee to the company, and always to the customer. That is the way Mrs. Barr operated business.

She was a pioneer in the sewing and crafting industry and was honored to be considered among the other pioneers who helped shape this industry. She has many industry relationships spanning her time, relationships which she cherished those relationships and credited as the reason for the success of JHB.

She had a full life traveling the world, enjoying trips with her family and networking with international companies to grow the business. She would search high and low for the perfect button. Once this button was found she would name the button and it was then welcomed into the JHB family of products..

She will be fondly remembered as a petite lady with a lot of spirit. She will be missed by everyone and remembered as a remarkable lady who left a lasting impression. The family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers through this challenging time. Join us as we say our goodbyes to the little lady with the big button company.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested that you make a donation to a charity of your choice in memory of Mrs. Barr. If you would like to send a card please send it to Jay Barr, c/o JHB, 1955 S. Quince Street, Denver, CO 80231.

Memories of Jean

Such a lovely lady and such a savvy businesswoman. Back in the '70s when I was an association employee, she was one of the first women on the National Notion Association Board of Directors. As NNA evolved into the National Home Sewing Association, then American Home Sewing Association, then simply HSA, Jean continued to be a strong sewing industry supporter.

Here's one story I remember hearing about her. Apocryphal? Maybe, but knowing Jean, I doubt it. Industry legend? Certainly! When the then-largest button company in the industry gave fixtures filled with buttons to Cloth World to "buy" the real estate, Jean was asked to do the same. She said firmly NO. "If you want my buttons, you have to buy them." And ultimately JHB and that other company's button fixtures stood side-by-side in Cloth World stores. Betty Watts

(Note: To learn more about the company, visit www.buttons.com/whoweare.asp.)



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