Kenneth Jesse Barker, age 89 of Gas City passed away on Friday, December 25, 2020 in his daughter’s home.
Kenneth was born on October 24, 1931 in Grant County, Indiana the son of the late Kenneth V. and Brosella (Bond) Barker.
He joined the U.S. Army at the age of 17; his mother had to sign him in. He was a baker who also toured on the Army Boxing Team. He served over three years, returning home in December of 1952. He planned to enter Purdue University the next fall, but fate stepped in and he went to work for Dana Corporation. He married his loving wife, Marjorie in June 1954 and together they raised four children. They were both active in her father’s church, the Roseburg Church of God. They enjoyed travelling and spending time with their kids and grandkids. He lost Marjorie in January of 1992.
Kenneth loved to give Praise sermons and was always an entertaining and thought-provoking speaker. Kenneth worked for Dana for 30 years retiring in 1983. He rose from working on the line to running the Quality Control Section of Dana in Marion. He travelled throughout the U.S., setting up similar programs and was well-respected in his field. In 1983, he returned to school to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He also began working for the Substance Abuse Center. Kenneth remains well known in local and statewide programs and fellowships. He loved all alcoholics. Kenneth went to work for the Marion VA, SATP, in 1985 and worked until he retired in 1994. In his tenure, he treated over 3,000 alcohol and drug abusers. Men and women in local recovery still reminisce about his great empathy for the still-suffering alcoholic. He loved hunting and fishing. He enjoyed being in the wood with his Beagles, his wrapped candies and a warm thermos of coffee. He cherished his annual fishing trips with his “boys” and his brothers. During his last few trips, he was able to get his boys to do the fish cleaning. That tickled him! Kenneth and his partner Debra started and ran Grace House, a halfway house for females, from 1991 to 1994. She continues their recovery work at the Ft. Wayne VA. Kenneth loved life and really lived it. He loved and cherished his children.
He is survived by his daughter and caretaker, Kenita (John) Herrera; daughter, Leslie (Skeet) Young; and his only son, David (Melanie) Barker. He was so proud of his grandkids and great-grandkids. He is also survived by his youngest brother, John (Marlis) Barker; and sisters, Rollene Crotts and Sarah Goins.
He was also preceded in death by a daughter, Cyndi Helphenstine; sister, Joyce Lake; and siblings, Carmel, Michael and Brose.
Friends and family may call from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 31, 2020 at Raven-Choate Funeral Home, 1202 W. Kem Road, Marion, Indiana. Burial will immediately follow funeral visitation at 1:00 p.m. at Marion National Cemetery, Marion, Indiana.
Due to the Governor’s continued COVID-19 restrictions, masks will be required at the funeral home and social distancing is suggested.
Memorial contributions may be made to the U.S.O., P.O. Box 96860, Washington, DC 20077-7677.
Online condolences may be shared at www.ravenchoate.com
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P.O. Box 96860, Washington DC 20077-7677