1928 – 2016
OLD TOWN —Earl E. Barker, 88, died peacefully Monday, Aug. 22, with his beloved wife and family by his side.
He was born Aug. 10, 1928, in Poland, a son of Irene Verrill.
The life story of Earl, similar to the stories he told, is long and varied. After leaving school, he worked as a truck driver before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force, where he proudly served for eight years including during the Korean War.
Upon returning to Maine, he owned and operated a dump truck, served as deputy sheriff for Oxford County for five years and police chief of Bethel for two years. He owned and operated Earl’s Esso Station (later Barker’s BP) in Bryant Pond, as well as the only car dealership and small engine sales and service business in town. He drove trucks for Neil’s Bakery, and Lepage/Country Kitchen.
Earl loved family gatherings, storytelling, playing with the grandchildren and he always enjoyed a good conversation with a friend. On the weekends, Earl could be found in his garage tinkering on something or other. He enjoyed telling the family to hop in the car and take them for a drive to wherever the road led them that particular day. Earl knew every back road in Maine. Earl will also be remembered for his wheeling and dealing (he should have been the original “down east dickerer” — the History Channel cast it wrong) and as a result, his daughter religiously reads Uncle Henry’s to this day. Earl’s love of conversation and people led him to Wal-Mart, where for the past 24 years he happily served as a sales associate.
Earl was a strong, honest, proud, hardworking man and provider to his family. Although the calendar said he was 88 and his heart had challenged him through several surgeries over the years, he worked up until last week, drove himself to a family reunion in Sebago this past weekend, and entertained his family with silly dances right up until his last day. Never once, could a complaint be heard coming from his lips.
He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Ruth (Watson) Barker; 11 children, Danny Barker and his companion, Tiffany Jelsma, Alan Barker, Wayne Barker and his companion, Tacha Vosburgh, Pamela Barker and her companion, Teddy Newell, Donald Irving and his wife, Pamela, Marcia Bell and her husband, Gerald II, Donna Stone and her husband, Greg, Michele Lowell and her husband, Chris, Rick Bragan and his companion, Elaine McKee, Terry Bragan and his companion, Robin Brundage, and Rhonda Barker and her husband, Robert Hall; 15 grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren; a brother, Bob Holt; a sister, Cathy Porter and her husband, Jerry; several nieces and nephews; and two beloved dogs, Duke and Bailey.
He was predeceased by his first wife, Joyce (Turner) Barker in 1978.