Daniel Barker
Daniel Barker

Obituary of Daniel Barker

Daniel S. Barker, 89, departed peacefully at home on Friday, March 2, 2018 encircled by the love and company of his family.

Born in Elmira, New York, son to D. Stewart Barker and Mildred (Hoover) Barker, he was pre-deceased by twin sisters.  Dan spent his formative years in Elmira, and frequented his grandparent’s farms where he would enjoy warm pies, goats and cows.  He frequently enjoyed the presence of his many cousins who fulfilled the role of playmates and acted as occasional siblings.

Dan attended Southside High School where he concentrated on machinist skills.  He worked as a soda-jerk at the Excel Dairy, enticed by the endless ice cream possibilities.  The store owner advised that Dan would quickly tire of ice cream, simply by working there.  To the shock of many, Dan’s enjoyment of ice cream never diminished throughout his life.  No hollow scoops – that was a major no-no.

In his teen years, World War II was underway and Dan longed to join the military.  His parents wanted him to finish his schooling and due to his young age, he had to wait for enrollment.  One afternoon, skipping school, he ventured to the recruiting office and joined the Navy.  He told his parents he had dropped out and was off to the ship duties as a radio-man.  He served around the globe and was always disappointed that, due to his age, he was unable to serve during wartime.  He got his only tattoo in San Francisco while stationed there.  He was proficient at Morse code and served on the U.S.S. Missouri for much of his career with the Navy.

Growing up in the shadow of Watkins Glen enhanced his need for speed and enjoyment of being behind the wheel of vehicles.  Dan would go in search of vehicles to work on and he would enjoy stock-car racing in the Southern Tier of New York.  It was common for him to find vehicles, tie them to the back of another car, and begin towing them home to work on.  Once the tow rope gave out and the vehicle went into a corn field.  After knocking on the farm-house door, apologizing, and promising to be back, he arrived with fresh rope and resumed the tow.  Stock-car racing was his adrenaline rush and attributed to his love of NASCAR.    

Meeting his future wife, Jean (Christman), while home on leave back in Elmira, Dan exited the Navy, obtained his GED and went on to Ithaca College, later transferring to Rider University in New Jersey.  Jean and Dan were married at the Riverside Methodist Church in Elmira, New York. The couple then began their family, Dan achieved his degree from Rider, and they relocated back to Elmira.  After working at Remington Rand and National Homes, he eventually landed a position with General Electric beginning his accounting career, and retired from GE with 30+ years experience.  Dan was a member of various organizations through GE such as the Elfun Society.  He enjoyed league bowling as well at the Burnt Hills Lanes.

Dan worked with the Boy Scouts, attended Riverside United Methodist Church in Elmira, NY, and also was a member of the Fraternal Order of Masons.  Eventually, accepting a promotion with General Electric, the family transferred to Stratford, Connecticut.  From there, the family moved to Glenville, New York, where Dan continued his career at the Knolls Atomic Power Site and later transferred to the Kesselring Site in West Milton, NY.  While in Glenville, New York, he was a member and Deacon of Trinity Presbyterian Church. 

From his father, Dan inherited a love of working with wood.  He had workshops at each of his residences and eventually invested in a Shop Smith. He would make bowls, dowels, wood trim, and furniture.  Camping was also a big part of the Barker lifestyle, beginning with tenting, expanding into a pop-up camper, then moving into a Class C motorhome.  Eventually, the Class A Pace Arrow was achieved.  Vacations were whimsical and planned “on the go”, seeing various forts, canyons, mountain ranges and other sites over many years.  A member of the Coachmen and Good Sam’s Clubs for many years, good friends were made and good times were had by all.  Horseshoe competitions were paramount during these gatherings.

Upon retirement, Dan and Jean resided in Laurel Hill, North Carolina, where they enjoyed traveling around and seeing new sites.  They’d venture to the ocean and Myrtle Beach, or go inland toward Charlotte.  Rockingham Motor Speedway was a short drive down the road, so he enjoyed regularly attending NASCAR races at the facility.  Dan and his wife were members of the Church in the Pines and Dan served as Trustee.

In his retirement, and to keep busy and continue to be social, he worked with H & R Block as a seasonal Tax Preparer.  After relocating back to New York, in Malta, Dan continued working with H & R Block and eventually volunteered doing tax preparation with AARP in Rotterdam at the Senior Center.  When Jean became ill in early 2017, Dan was unable to continue doing taxes, but stayed in touch with his volunteer community.

Daniel was predeceased by his wife of 66 years, Jean.   He is survived by his children Connie Culver, Dawn Craig, Robin (Kevin) Dooley, and Samantha (Robert) Cooper. His grandchildren Michael (Wendy) Campbell, Heather (Glenn) Craig, Nathan (Grace) Craig, Amanda (Joseph) Moore, Winifred (Jason) Flood, Kevin (Brittany) Wolfe, Jeremiah Dooley, Zachariah Dooley, Brian Cooper, and Jared Cooper. Dan's great-grandchildren Nicole Campbell, Madison Flood, Sophia Flood, Carter Flood, Emma Craig, Loegan Wolfe and Graysen Wolfe.

He liked a good card game.  Board games, like Chess were out of the question, as nothing should be able to end in a tie.  If you can’t win, why play?  At the Glenwyck Community, he participated in various activities and would occasionally assist with calling Bingo on Saturday afternoons, bringing his experience from the Rotterdam Senior Center.  He enjoyed his Monday and Thursday Pinochle games and would be available, when called, for an impromptu hand of cards (Pinochle or Cribbage).

A devoted father, husband and son, Dan was always on the go and liked to converse on many topics.  Politics and religion were never out of the question.  He could talk about all kinds of sports activities as well and liked to play with the Stock Market.  He enjoyed reading a good action novel as well as watching Westerns.  Technology was also enjoyable to him and he found streaming television and movies to be highly entertaining.  The ability to watch what you wanted, without commercials, was amazing.  He loved a good spreadsheet!

A service of remembrance will be held at Jones Funeral Home, 1503 Union St, Schenectady from 3pm to 6pm on Saturday, March 10, 2018.  Memorial Donations, in lieu of flowers may be made to The Community Hospice Foundation, 310 South Manning Blvd., Albany, New York  12208.  Or you can visit their website, https://donate.givetocommunityhospice.org/