Richard (Dick) Charles Barker, died peacefully on April 29, 2020 at his home in Coupeville, Wash.
He was born in Minnea-polis, Minn. to Charles Barker and Margaret (Barker) Barker on May 15, 1934.
In 1937, his father accepted a teaching position at Washington State College (WSU), and the family relocated to Pullman, Wash., where Dick completed his education up through college — he became a lifelong Cougar!
Dick married his college sweetheart, Patricia Miller, and took his first position as a music educator in Joseph, Ore. in 1956. Over the next several years, Dick taught in Onalaska, Colville, and Klickitat, Wash., before moving his family to Bethel, Alaska in 1968.
Dick built band programs in Bethel and Tok, Alaska, where he’s still fondly remembered by his former students. Iin 2014, he was nominated by students and inducted into the Alaska School Activities Assoc. High School Hall of Fame. Bethel and rural Alaska natives held a special place in his heart as it was where he and Pat laid down roots and where all of their children finished their education.
In 1986, Dick retired from teaching in Alaska, and took a position with the Department of Defense Dependents’ Schools, or DoDDS, in Ansbach, Germany. After the death of his wife, he continued teaching band and choir in Ansbach, meeting elementary school teacher Judith (Jude) Nickle, and they married in 1992. He retired from DoDDS 1993, and continued to set up the music program on a volunteer basis in Jude’s school until her retirement in 2000, after which they moved back to the United States, settling in Coupeville.
He volunteered helping to build music programs in local schools, including Cornerstone Christian School in Lynden, Wash., and at Island Christian Academy in Langley, Wash., until shortly before his death.
Dick had a lifelong passion for family, and good conversation with friends, old and new. He loved adventure, camping, traveling, and later in life, running (he completed seven marathons); many of you may have seen him running along the highway in the Ledgewood area.
In addition to his wife, Dick is survived by his four children, Mark (Jayne) Barker, Anchorage, Alaska, Bruce (Sarah) Barker, Los Angeles, Calif., Karen (Walter) de Graaf, Eastvale, Calif., and Michelle (Stephen) Connor, Bloomington, Ind.; nine grandchildren, Ernie, Katie, Emily, Elizabeth, Hayleigh, Anna, Rachel, Harry, and Gwendolynn; and four great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother, Jim (Robin) Barker, of Fairbanks, Alaska; and sister-in-law, Doris Barker, Seattle, Wash.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Tom Barker, of Seattle.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Coupeville United Methodist Church Music Fund, designated Choir/Bells, in memory of Dick.
Celebration of Dick’s life will be held at a later date.