Charles and Margery Barancik were honored with a remembrance ceremony at Asolo Repertory Theatre.
Charles and Margery Barancik left a mark on the region that continued to shine March 9 at a ceremony to honor the late couple’s philanthropic efforts.
The ceremony offered an opportunity for community members to take a moment to honor and thank Charles Barancik, 91, who died in a traffic crash on Longboat Key on Dec. 18, and Margery Barancik, 83, who died at Sarasota Memorial Hospital a day later of her injuries.
“Normalize generosity,” said Steve Barancik, the couple’s eldest son. “Practice kindness. You might lose your anonymity. People might realize you have some resources to spare. Get over it. Chuck and Margie did.
“With just a wee bit of extra money or spare time, we can all be philanthropists, maybe change a life or two.”
The couple started the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation in 2014 after being urged by Debra Jacobs of the Patterson Foundation to activate their foundation while they were alive, so they would be able to see the impact they had, foundation Chair Rebecca Barancik said.
In the first five years of the foundation, the couple donated more than $50 million into the Sarasota community, she said, to a wide range of regional organizations.
“My father was far happier in his final giving years than I’ve ever seen him before,” Steve Barancik said. “His relationships with his children mended. His relationships with his brothers mended. I mean, how do you hold a grudge against someone who’s become the soul of generosity? Who’s giving it all away joyfully?”
Steve Barancik credited Amar Hall, his little brother from the Big Brother, Big Sister program, with helping create the generous Charles Barancik the Sarasota community would come to know.
“Amar offered some of the unconditional love that we kids didn’t manage to, and Chuck and Margie returned it big time,” he said.
Hall met the Baranciks, whom he referred to as “Momma and Poppa B” when he was 11 and became part of the family.
“[The Baranciks] said that every person that you encounter is either a lesson or a blessing,” Hall said. “And if you’re really lucky, the individual can be both. So in my case, with them, I was really, really lucky.”
Before his death, Charles informed Bharat Chandra, Sarasota Orchestra’s principal clarinetist, that his only request for his funeral was that Chandra perform Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto In A Major — Slow Movement.
“Because he always seems so healthy, active and involved with things, I have to confess that my first thought was something like: ‘Come on, Chuck. We’re at a party man,’” Chandra said. “But I knew it was important to meet him squarely at that moment, so I shook his hand, said OK and added, ‘I quite look forward to never playing that for you, Chuck.’ In December, I learned that never could come.”
In lieu of the traditional cadenza, which Chandra said is used for the soloist to “show off,” he asked that during that section the audience take a moment of quietness to remember the couple’s legacy.
“In this brief moment of quietness, [I ask] that instead of hearing me or even the sounds of this room that you hear them. The music they made with their voices, their deeds and the sounds of thanks from so many in our dear home,” he said.