OTTUMWA -- Ninety-five years of a complete, beautiful life came to a close on Sunday, May 12, 2013 when LaVern Pershing Barker left this world to be with his Savior. His wife Jewel, daughter Connie and granddaughter Kim, were with him at his side.
LaVern was born to George W. and Effie Olive Barker on February 26, 1918. He was raised along with his seven siblings Clarence, twins Reva and Veva, Ruth, Marie and twins Robert and Betty right here in Ottumwa, Iowa, all of whom have preceded him in death.
He had many loves, but none more so than his beloved wife, Jewel. They wed on December 24, 1941 and were married 71 incredible years. He was a Veteran, having served in the U.S. Army during WWII. Following his military duty, he returned to Ottumwa and was employed by John Morrell & Co., and Hormel, retiring from Hormel at the age of 65.
He is remembered fondly by his adoring family for his giant heart, hard working ethics and moral values that he gifted each of us with. He was well known throughout Ottumwa, respected and honored by all who knew him. He loved to tell us his stories, and we will always remember having a chance to sit next to “Grandpa” and listen to him speak of his courageous serving life. He loved his family most of all and would do anything for anyone. Being at home with Jewel was his favorite pastime, caring with such pride and meticulous detail for his home, his manicured lawn and treasured automobiles. He loved long car rides, watching any sporting event on television, or in person, and even Mickey Mouse. We celebrate Dad and Grandpa for a life well lived, and we will treasure the joy he brought to each of us. The love in his heart for his family we will carry out for many generations to come. He is our true American Hero.