American Veteran 04

John Albert Barker

January 6, 2022


On January 3, 2022, John Albert Barker, age 73, of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, passed away due to complications of Covid-19.

While John was alive, I truly believe he touched the lives of everyone he had ever met, and while it might have been a pleasure for him, I can assure you the pleasure was ours because for us it was a blessing wrapped in gold and silver to each of us who had the opportunity to speak, meet, and know the man that is my grandfather.

In Poplar Bluff on February 7, 1948, John was welcomed into the world by his parents Donald and Lillie Barker, and from that time on he was a rascal, just like any young boy, with a big heart that continued to grow as he did. From a young age, John enjoyed life and all it had to offer from swinging off trees into Black River to wandering the forests of Butler County and causing mayhem with his many cousins, there was never a dull moment around this young man. As time went on John continued to mature into the man he would become, the man we all know and love.

Graduating from Poplar Bluff High School in 1966 John continued his education at Arkansas State University while participating in their ROTC program. It was during his time in school John happened upon the love of his life, the woman who would soon become his wife, Janet Lea Park. Within three months John had proposed and nearly six months later married Janet on June 30, 1968. Now a married man, John continued his way through college eventually transferring to Harding University where he received his Master’s degree In education in 1976.

Soon after college, as a man of faith with deep devotion to Christ and Country, John enlisted in the U.S Army as a Lieutenant. After four years of active-duty service, John separated from the military to focus on his family. It is during this time John began his work in ministry, spreading and preaching the word of God. Then in the summer of 1990, John returned to military service only this time he enlisted in the Missouri National Guard where he served with the rank of an E4 soldier, due to a lack of vacancies for officers. During his time in the National Guard, John rose to the rank of Master Sergeant before retiring in 2006.

In retirement, John quickly began taking on more responsibilities than when he was a working man. During this period of his life, he served the community as a man of Christ that never shied away from an opportunity to help those in need. While serving the community of Poplar Bluff John was on the board of directors for the Bread Shed, organizing Sunday Meals, and helping those in need. From diapers and clothing to food and showers, John served his community, always with a smile on his face, and a bleeding heart for those in need. During his retirement, John was a big supporter of John 3:16 Ministries and Crossroads.

When John wasn’t serving his community, he enjoyed the simple life of country living. From fishing with his grandsons to gardening and tinkering around the house, he was truly a simple man that enjoyed the simple things in life. Faith, Love, and Life, but what he enjoyed most of all beyond fishing, gardening, and his daily tinkering projects was his family and Christ. I write this knowing that those who were lucky enough to know John Barker, can still hear his voice, and the words of wisdom and guidance he would give if and when we had needed it. We can still hear his sneezes, which would always find a way to break through the sound barrier and nearly frighten the snot from our noses, but most of all I can still hear the joy of his laughter and see his beaming smile that always glowed with delight anytime he got to talking, and thankfully he enjoyed to talk. With his death, we celebrate the long and incredibly blessed life John Barker was able to experience, and we take comfort knowing he is with the creator of the universe. We celebrate the man he was and we continue to look to him as an example of how we should live and love. We remember his incredible heart of gold and the kindness and grace with which he handled difficult situations. John was the type of man that would want us to smile and be thankful for every moment we’ve had together. John is the type of man that would want us to do as Christ did, move through each day with an open heart and a helpful hand even on the days when it seems impossible, and putting a smile on your face even if it feels wrong. Like so many others I am thankful to have known John Albert Barker.

John is survived by his Wife Janet Lea (Park) Barker, children Angela Barker, Amy Kearby, and John Barker; Sons-in-Law David Lee Kearby and Roger Ray, Daughters-in-Law Heather Barker and Carla Barker, Grandchildren Brittany Slayton, Kiersten Lay, David Kyle Kearby, Baylee Ray, Karlee Barker, Brooks Ray, Bethany Kearby, Jarvis Raymond, Grace Kearby, Alexzander Kearby, Nevaeh Ruiz, Hadley Barker, and Jacob Barker; Great Grandchildren Kaelyn Everett, Landri Slayton, and Averie Slayton. Preceding him in death, his Father Donald Andrew Barker and his Mother Lillie Belle (Bratcher) Barker; Sisters Donna Rose Malloy and Norma Jean Mueller.

Visitation will be held on Monday, January 10, 2022, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Willow Ridge Funeral & Cremation Services in Poplar Bluff, MO. Funeral services will immediately follow at 2:00 pm on Monday, January 10, 2022, at Willow Ridge Funeral & Cremation Services in the Chapel with Greg Carman officiating. Burial will take place at Black Creek Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family request donations be made to the Bread Shed or Crossroads.

Cotrell Willow Ridge Funeral and Cremation Services is honored to serve the family of John Albert Barker.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John Albert Barker, please visit our floral store.


January 10, 2022

1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Willow Ridge Funeral Chapel, Spain

Funeral Service
January 10, 2022

2:00 PM
Willow Ridge Funeral Chapel, Spain

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