The Obit For George Barker

George Barker

Published in Bristol Herald Courier from February 1 to February 2, 2012

Abingdon, Va. Mr. George Edd Barker died peacefully at his home on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012, after an extended illness. Born on Sept. 25, 1930, he was the son of the late Edgar Fortune Barker and Pauline Elliott Barker. He was preceded in death by his sister, Jane Barker Rush. A graduate of Damascus High School, he attended Virginia Tech and graduated from Emory & Henry College in l960.

At age 18 he signed a professional baseball contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers and worked his way up in the Dodger organization, pitching for Pulaski, Newport News, Pueblo, Macon and Montreal, compiling a career record of 64-46. In 1954 he threw a no-hitter against a Japanese All-Star team while touring Japan with the Pueblo Dodgers. In 1958, he was invited to report to spring training with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

He served in the Army during the Korean conflict and was a member of the 101st Airborne Division. After making his home in Abingdon and serving as Regional Sales Manager for the Magnavox Company for 18 years, he established Coal Marketing Corporation. He worked in coal sales and served as the company's president for more than 20 years before retiring in 2002.

He was a devoted member of the Abingdon United Methodist Church, having served as past chairman of the Administrative Board, Council on Ministries and Board of Trustees. He was a member of the Emory & Henry College Sports Hall of Fame, and was a long-time member of the E&H Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee. He also served the college as president of the E&H board of visitors and was later named an honorary member. He was national annual fund chairman for his beloved college.

Throughout his lifetime, he spent many hours as a volunteer for the E&H baseball team, and was working as assistant coach at the College when he met his future wife. He was involved with his community, and worked tirelessly in the building of Falcon Field to make it one of the premier baseball fields in the area. He was active in the Sequoyah Council of the Boy Scouts of America and served on the Board of Directors and as district commissioner. He was awarded both the Silver Beaver Award and the Pioneer Award for outstanding service and leadership in scouting. He was an avid golfer and fisherman but his greatest joy was his family. He was a loving and devoted husband, father and grandfather.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Virginia "Ginny" Rowland Barker. He is also survived by a son, G. E. "Chip" Barker Jr. and wife, Lisa and grandchildren, Benjamin, Joshua and Casey of Abingdon; a daughter, Cynthia "Cindy" Barker Blevins, and husband, David, and grandchildren Andrew and Caroline of Floyd, Va.; and a son Christopher R. "Chris" Barker, and granddaughter, Charlotte of Charleston, S.C.; an aunt, Mary Barker Ironside, Kennett Square, Pa.; a special family friend, Monica Hoel of Emory, Va.; and several nephews, nieces and cousins.

A celebration of the life of Mr. George E. Barker will be conducted at 2 o'clock on Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, at the Abingdon United Methodist Church, with the Rev. Walter P. Weikel and the Rev. David T. St. Clair officiating. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the church Fellowship Hall from 3 to 5:30 p.m.

A graveside service will be held at Knollkreg Memorial Park in Abingdon on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012, at 11 a.m. Pallbearers will be Jim Brown, Ed Clark, Richard Davidson, Trey McCall, Larry Miller and George Strong. Honorary pallbearers are Kenneth Bailey, Jimmy Countiss, Dr. Ron Ely and Dr. Charles Sydnor.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Barker Scholarship at Emory & Henry College, P.O. Box 950, Emory, VA 24327; Abingdon United Methodist Church, 101 E. Main St., Abingdon, VA 24210; or Boy Scouts of America, P.O. Box 3010, Johnson City, TN 37602.