Barry Schrader returned to his roots in DeKalb County four years ago after being away in California for 37 years. A lifelong journalist, he convinced the Daily Chronicle to let him write a weekly column called DeKalb County Life.
After three years of writing about people, places and events in “corn country” as he fondly refers to his home county, he decided to compile 100 of his favorite stories into a book, “Hybrid Corn and Purebred People,” including some 150 photos, 60 of them never published with his column before.
“I was amazed how much had changed here but yet many parts of the county still look the same since my childhood,” Schrader said in a news release. “So it was exciting to explore my past and re-acquaint myself with classmates from grade school through college at Northern Illinois University, all the time collecting stories for my columns.”
After a near-fatal bout with cancer and major surgery for diverticulosis, he ended his journalist career. When moving back to Illinois in 2006, his first move was to volunteer to tape oral histories at the Joiner History Room in Sycamore.
Schrader and his wife, Kay, live in DeKalb Area Retirement Center, where they both volunteer in various capacities. Schrader continues his longtime interests in antique letterpress printing and photography and even took a first place in the Still Life photo category at the Sandwich Fair last year.