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Gerald L. Barker
June 21, 1918 March 21, 2018
Gerald L. “Jerry” Barker, 99, formerly of Williamsburg, passed away Wednesday afternoon at Homewood at Martinsburg. He was born on his mother’s 31st birthday in Pittsburgh and Gerald was a son of the late Robert and Suzetta (Hassig) Barker. On August 12, 1941 he married Eleanor K. Hess in Stroudsburg and she preceded him in death on November 26, 2007.
Surviving are three daughters: Nancy E. Grove (Harold) of Martinsburg, Patricia J. Thayer (Fred) of Williamsport and Evelyn C. Bookhammer (Curtis) of Alexandria; seven grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren.
Jerry attended Langley High and was a 1939 graduate of Juniata College, Huntingdon where he majored in music and minored in English and biology. He began his career, teaching music at the high school in Armagh, PA, which is where he met his wife, Eleanor who taught at a neighboring school.
He enlisted in the Army Air Corps following the attack on Pearl Harbor and was called to active duty in December of 1942. In August of 1945 Jerry returned to the states and became a military flight instructor, until his discharge from the armed services. Gerald then returned to the class room, teaching music and directing band at the Williamsburg High School, until his retirement from teaching in 1947.
Jerry created the Keystone Milling Company, Williamsburg in 1948 and then in 1953, he and his brother opened the Short Mountain Nursery near Alexandria. In 1987 the family sold the mill so they could concentrate on their expanding tree farm. The brothers later separated the business and Jerry’s portion became known as JB Tree Farm, which still operates today.
He loved flying planes and also built his own experimental airplane. Jerry also enjoyed music, directing his church choir and playing in the Altoona Symphony Orchestra for almost 40 years.
Friends will be received from 2pm until the 3pm, memorial service, Saturday, March 24, 2018 at Bice Memorial Chapel at Homewood at Martinsburg. Private inurnment will be held at Presbyterian Cemetery, Williamsburg. Arrangements are by John K. Bolger Funeral Home Inc., Martinsburg.