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James William Barker

June 14, 1926 August 5, 2021
James William Barker
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Obituary for James William Barker

James William Barker, born June 14, 1926, in Oak Park hospital to William Russell Barker and Mary Wilhelmina Heidelbach joined his wife, Ruth A. Barker on August 5, 2021 in their heavenly home. They were just shy of 70 years of marriage when Ruth died on Christmas Day, 2020.

He is survived by sons Lloyd (Mary Kay), James Jr. (Suzanne), and daughter Jane (Melinda Haag); by his granddaughters Melissa Bobinski (Josh), Julie Lietz (Greg), and Anne Barker; by his great-granddaughters Kherington Bobinski and Lindsey Jo Bobinski. He leaves many nieces and nephews with very fond memories of their loving Uncle, and hoards of neighbors and friends to whom he extended his kindness over the years.

Jim was baptized at St. John Lutheran in Forest Park. He attended elementary school there as did his future wife, one grade behind him. She wasn’t on his radar then. He graduated from Proviso East High School in 1944 and promptly enlisted in the Navy. He figured he’d have a bunk to sleep in. He served through World War 2 on the west coast, helping to protect the west coast from attacks. Although he felt he didn’t deserve credit for serving in World War 2 because he never fired a gun in the war, he served honorably.

He returned home from the Navy back to his home in Forest Park, a few blocks over from Ruth’s home. Jim found a job at Illinois Bell where his father worked as well. He started as a lineman and eventually worked his way up to management. He finally caught Ruth’s eye in the choir loft at St. John and they married on February 3, 1951. They moved into a bungalow in Forest Park and started a family. Lloyd, Jim and Jane arrived.

They moved to their beloved home in River Forest in 1964, and remained there for 65 years. At first Jim was the young guy on the block who blew the snow for the block and helped his older neighbors, and at the end became the elder statesman on the block. Well, the elder statesman with a twinkle in his eye and a firecracker at the ready on July 4th.

Jim loved to play. In his younger years he took his kids ice skating, and later took up roller blading. He was in the water playing with his children on every vacation they took. He golfed in a league while he was working, and as often as he could with his friends after that. He was a whiz at pinochle, and would play almost any game offered. He taught the ladies at Belmont Village Rumicube, and did such a good job teaching that they mostly beat him. His best hobby was counted cross-stitch sewing which he continued until he went into the hospital in July. He kept his sense of humor up to the very end.

Jim was a man who always put his family above all else, other than his faith. He loved Ruth with all of his being. When she could no longer live at home, he moved with her onto the memory ward because he couldn’t fathom living apart from her. He was devoted to her until her final day. He tried to find joy after she was gone, and he did, but it wasn’t enough to sustain him without her. And so, he has been reunited.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, August 18, from 10:00 a.m. until time of service 11a.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 7300 Division St., River Forest. Burial at Concordia Cemetery in Forest Park to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations to Grace Lutheran Church (graceriverforest.org) are appreciated.

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Previous Events

Visitation

Wednesday

18

Aug

10:00 AM 8/18/2021 10:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 8/18/2021 11:00:00 AM
Grace Lutheran Church

7300 Division St.
River Forest, IL 60305

Grace Lutheran Church
7300 Division St. River Forest 60305 IL
United States

Funeral Service

Wednesday

18

Aug

11:00 AM 8/18/2021 11:00:00 AM - 12:00 PM 8/18/2021 12:00:00 PM
Grace Lutheran Church

7300 Division St.
River Forest, IL 60305

Grace Lutheran Church
7300 Division St. River Forest 60305 IL
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Concordia Cemetery Final Resting Place

7900 Madison St.
Forest Park, IL 60130

7900 Madison St. Forest Park 60130 IL
United States

Memorial Contribution

Grace Lutheran Church

7300 Division St.
River Forest, IL 60305
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