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Crash claims lives of Longboaters Charles and Margery Barancik

News spread quickly Thursday and Friday that Longboat Key residents Charles and Margery Barancik, founders of the Barancik Foundation, died of injuries after a crash Wednesday night on Longboat Key.

Charles Barancik, 91, was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife, Margery, 83, was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. She died Thursday, according to the foundation.

“We are grateful for the outpouring of community support as we grieve the loss of Chuck and Margie, who passed one day apart,” the foundation announced on its website Thursday. “We thank the wonderful staff at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System for their kind and excellent care.”

An initial investigation states the crash happened on Gulf of Mexico Drive and involved a police vehicle.

“A marked patrol vehicle from the Town of Longboat Key Police Department was traveling south in the 2100 block of Gulf of Mexico Drive when it collided with the Tesla (Barancik’s vehicle). A Longboat Key Police Department officer, who was driving the patrol car, was working and responding to a call at the time of the crash.”

Emergency personnel told longboat Key News that the police vehicle struck the Barancik’s vehicle as the couple exited their en Provence residence and turned onto Gulf of Mexico Drive. The accident was reportedly a direct impact of the police vehicle into the Tesla’s driver-side door area.

The officer, whose name is being withheld, was transported to an area hospital with minor injuries. The crash remains under investigation by the City of Sarasota Police Department, as is protocol.

Chuck and Margie Barancik founded the Barancik Foundation in 2014 with their three children. The initial gift was $300 million. Since then, the foundation has awarded some $55 million to area charities including Loveland Center, Laurel Civic Association, The Twig, Sky Academy at the Venice Y and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation in the South Sarasota County area.

“We appreciate your thoughts and prayers at this time,” the foundation’s website, www.barancikfoundation.org, stated.

Groups that benefited from the foundation went to social media to express their shock and sadness.

“Like all of our community, we are deeply saddened by the loss of the Baranciks, whose generous & compassionate spirit will be greatly missed, though their legacy will undoubtedly endure for generations,” officials with Sarasota Memorial Health Care System said in a message. “We send our heartfelt condolences to the family, the foundation & all those touched by this great loss.”

Chuck Barancik earned his degree in business administration from Northwestern University and worked as a certified public accountant before going into business for himself. Over 30 years, he bought and operated 10 companies, according to the foundation’s website.

In 1965, the Baranciks bought Justrite Manufacturing Co.

“Chuck’s vision was to become the foremost force in fire prevention and he credits the company’s dedicated management team for achieving dominance in this niche market,” the website states. “Federal Signal purchased Justrite in 1994.”

When he bought it, it was selling about $1 million annually in products; when it was sold in 1994, it was doing more than $32 million annually, according to an interview Barancik gave to the Sarasota law firm of Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen.

In 1975, he purchased office furniture manufacturer Mayline, which was sold in 2007. And then there was Hamilton Industries, which they bought in 1982 and sold in 1992.

At the times of their sales, Mayline was making $80 million in annual sales and Hamilton Industries was earning $130 million in annual sales, Barancik told Williams Parker law firm for its website.

Margie Barancik earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Smith College and then her master’s degree in deaf education at Columbia University.

“Her schooling led to a career teaching children who were deaf and young adults with multiple handicaps,” her biography at the foundation’s website states. “After becoming a mother of three, she focused on helping her community.

She served on a variety of boards in the Chicago and Sarasota areas, including the Mary Lawrence Chapter of Jewish Children’s Bureau, the Greater Illinois Chapter of the National MS Society and the Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Sarasota-Manatee board, the foundation states.

The couple married in 1960.

Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler called it “an incredibly sad day.”

“Forever grateful for their thoughtful generosity to our community and the everlasting impact they have made,” Ziegler stated on the foundation’s social media page.

Girl Scouts of the Gulf Coast CEO Mary Ann Servian called the couple “two of the most down to earth loving people I’ve ever met.”

“There are no words to express the collective sadness and loss to this community,” Servian stated.

The Twig in Venice shared a message on its website.

“The Baranciks have been champions of The Twig and their support has made a huge difference in the impact we have been able to make in the foster care community,” it said.

Gulf Coast Community Foundation President Mark Pritchett said the foundations had joint ventures with STEMsmart and its successor, 21st Century Learning.

“The Baranciks partnered with Gulf Coast to transform every middle-school classroom in Sarasota County Schools into technology-rich, collaborative environments that students and their teachers love,” Pritchett said. “Chuck and Margie’s generosity literally transformed middle-school learning in Sarasota County. It made our district a national model for technology deployment.”

The Baranciks also assisted with the Reading Recovery program, CareerEdge workforce development initiative, the Gator Engineering program at State College of Florida – Venice, and Creation Stations in county libraries.

“From education and human services to the arts and environmental stewardship, Chuck and Margie Barancik’s vision and generosity touch so many things from one end of Sarasota County to the other,” Pritchett’s statement said. “Their philanthropy has changed individual lives and changed systems from North Port all the way to North Sarasota.”

Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Officer Tim Bales with the Sarasota Police Department Traffic Unit at 941-915-3635 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS or online atwww.sarasotacrimestoppers.com

 

From Gulf Coast Community Foundation…

Chuck Barancik was an icon. To lose him so suddenly and tragically is still hard to process and believe. As a philanthropist, Chuck Barancik catalyzed and innovated. He made big investments where he and Margie felt they were needed most, and in doing so they inspired so many to join them. Most importantly, Chuck cared deeply about creating opportunities for every member of our community to thrive.

The first joint venture that Gulf Coast Community Foundation had with the Baranciks was the expansion of our STEMsmart initiative and the creation of its successor, the 21st Century Learning initiative. The Baranciks partnered with Gulf Coast to transform every middle-school classroom in Sarasota County Schools into technology-rich, collaborative environments that students and their teachers love! We started with science and math classrooms, and then it was Chuck’s idea to transfer that same success to language arts and social studies classes. Chuck and Margie’s generosity literally transformed middle-school learning in Sarasota County. It made our district a national model for technology deployment. That would not have happened without Chuck Barancik. That’s the kind of big thinking that drove Chuck’s philanthropy and will continue to drive his legacy through the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation.

There are so many other ways the Baranciks and their foundation have transformed our community. The Baranciks partnered with Gulf Coast to bring the highly successful Reading Recovery program to our school district and then expand it district-wide. Now, every elementary school in Sarasota County has at least one Reading Recovery teacher working with first-graders who struggle the most with reading and writing.

The Baranciks are also big co-investors in the CareerEdge workforce development initiative, which has helped workers throughout our region, including many in the Venice area, improve their skills and earn promotions and wage increases.

The Baranciks helped create the Gator Engineering program and the “Gator Den” at State College of Florida – Venice. Just a few weeks ago, we also helped cut the ribbon on innovative Intensive Language Arts Classrooms at several high schools, including Venice High, that were envisioned and co-funded by the Barancik Foundation.

You see the Baranciks’ impact in our libraries, thanks to their investment in Creation Stations throughout the county library system. Gulf Coast is also working collaboratively with the Barancik Foundation to help create a better system of mental health care for children, youth, and young adults throughout Sarasota County.

From education and human services to the arts and environmental stewardship, Chuck and Margie Barancik’s vision and generosity touch so many things from one end of Sarasota County to the other. Their philanthropy has changed individual lives and changed systems from North Port all the way to North Sarasota. Chuck’s loss is devastating, but his brilliance and his love for others will live on through his family’s namesake foundation.

Reprinted with permission by the Venice Gondolier. Story by Kim Cool with additional info by Steve Reid.

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