Clinton Jay Barker passed peacefully on a beautiful summer day, July 17, 2020 with his sweetheart, Shirley Thomas Barker, at his side. He loved life and wanted to live to be 100. He made it to 95.
Clinton was born January 7, 1925, Garfield, Utah to Earl Barker and Vivian Estella Ollerton. He was the second son of 5 children, Hal, Clint, Bob, Betty (his only sister) and Brent. Clint was a man of few words but oh how he could write. Reading his history has been fascinating. He talks of summers spent on the Skyline Drive east of Fairview where his Grandfather Ollerton was a Forest Ranger with the U.S. Forest Service, working for his uncles in Taylorsville, and moving so many times. Dad looked at it as an opportunity to make more friends. And he had many.
The best friend to come out of all of those moves was our mother. They have known each other for 80 years and celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary earlier this year. Their love story started in a Salt Lake neighborhood when our mother with her beautiful red hair rode her green bicycle past dad sitting on the front porch where his family lived. She was 13 and he was 15. It survived going to different schools and WWII.
Dad was one of the “greatest generation” enlisting in the Marines not long after graduating from high school. He spent almost 3 years in the service for his country and our freedom. He was a proud WWII Vet: Twenty-Second Marines-Marshall Islands. February 19, 1944. First Provincial Marine Brigade-Guam, Mariana Islands. July 21, 1944. Sixth Marine Division-Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands. April 1, 1945. Not long after he came home, he and mom were married on January 7, 1946. He loved mom’s family and they loved him.
He joined the Salt Lake City Fire Department, was a barber, a printer, and could do almost anything mom asked of him. He and mom were the original “Chip and Joanna.” He loved skiing and took several of our friends along with us every Saturday if he wasn’t at the fire station.
He loved his membership in the church, his calling as executive secretary in the Holladay 4th Ward, and cherished being able to be sealed to mom in the Salt Lake Temple for time and all eternity on November 15, 1946. Family meant everything to Dad. We knew he loved us. After retiring, Dad spent many, many hours on the computer indexing historical records for the church. He and mom and some of their close friends in Holladay did sealings in the Jordan River Temple for 12 years.
In 2015, he was able to go on an amazing trip to Washington D.C. with the Utah Honor Flight organization. What was truly amazing about this was that he was able to do this with his best friend, Paul Smith. They met on a ship in the middle of the Pacific during the war. They remained close friends for the rest of their lives.
Clinton is survived by his wife, Shirley, children, Cathy (Max) Steele, Chris, Marianne (Howard) Reichman, 13 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren with 2 more on the way. I am sure he is snuggling those two babies. He was a baby whisperer. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Norma (George) Simmons and many nieces and nephews who love him. Life will not be the same without him, but I am just as sure as the song from Ed Sheeren says, “When God took you back, He said, Hallelujah, you’re home.” Love you Dad.
Our hearts are full of gratitude for the staff at Wellington Assisted Living and Christian and Amber from Brio Hospice. You cared for Dad and Mom when we couldn’t be there. We are grateful, as well, for the kindness and empathy we have felt from Larkin Mortuary.
Graveside services will be held on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 11:00 a.m., at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City. Please wear masks and follow social distancing.