Matriarch of Barker family continues to enjoy life

Five generations of the Barker family are seen. From left are Donald C. Barker, 75, of Buchanan, Helen Lucille Lyon Barker, 95, of Paris, Montanna Heffington Cross, 26, of Cumming, Ga., Leith Honor Cross, 2 months, of Cumming, Ga., and Brooke Barker Heffington, 55, of Paris.

Mrs. Helen Barker has three children, six grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandson. Mrs. Barker came to Paris with her husband, the late Jessie C. Barker, and three children to farm and to raise cattle. They stayed in Paris approximately three years before moving back to Bristol, Tenn. in 1964, returning to Paris in the 1970s. Barker taught in Henry County, retiring from Grove Junior High in 1993. She began her teaching career in a one-room school in Benhams, Va. after graduating from high school; however, states began requiring teachers to have a college education. Barker graduated from King (College) University in 1957 and taught in Bristol, Va. until moving back to Paris with her husband to farm. Prior to the move, she had earned her master’s degree in special education from East Tennessee State University.

Growing up in the mountains of East Tennessee during the Depression, Barker learned many life skills such as sewing, quilting, gardening and preserving food. Many of these skills became some of her most-loved hobbies. She has made quilts for family members, always had large vegetable gardens, fruit trees, and a beautiful collection of iris and daylilies. For many years, she was very active in Master Gardeners, the Iris and Daylily Club, Kiwanis, and the Gideon Organization. Mrs. Barker is still very active in her church, LLL, WMU, and teaches the Joy Sunday school class.

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