Catherine Jane Barker
October 5th, 1946 – November 13th, 2023 (77 years)
Catherine Jane Barker, beloved wife, mother and long-time teacher in the Edmonds School District, passed away in the early evening on November 13th, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease and complications of a recent stroke. She will always be remembered for her intelligence and quick wit, having employed such with her family and her many students during her too short 77 years on this earth. Born in Winnipeg, MB, to Jack and Audrey Hart, she was the middle child of three (Rick and Gord Hart). Catherine moved as a child to the warmer climes of Penticton, BC, where she spent her formative years, and reminisced frequently about the beautiful lakes and sunshine filled summers. A good student, with a penchant for Home Economics, she often quoted the inviolate rules of cooking (although she was known to make some ingredient “substitutions” on occasion), and the benefits of a stitch in time. Upon graduation from Penticton High School, Catherine’s bold spirit inspired a move to Vancouver, BC, with a classmate and fellow Beatles lover, Beverly Canty, with whom she would maintain a lifelong friendship. Working in the big city, she would soon meet the love of her life, Robert (Bob) Barker, who entertained Catherine in his hometown with many activities, including the truly Canadian sport of curling. Their rapid romance led to marriage just before Catherine’s 21st birthday, a marriage that would last for over 56 years. Wasting little time, Bob and Catherine had two children, Bruce and Darcey, raising them gladly in the midst of the larger Hart and Barker clans of British Columbia.
In 1979, work opportunities took Catherine’s family to nearby Washington State, where her enchantment with the former mill town of Edmonds, WA, led her to declare “this is where we will live”, and she stayed true to that declaration for the rest of her life Catherine furthered her education as a young mother, determined as an adult learner to reach her goal of becoming a teacher. The process took the better part of 10 years, concluding at the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Teaching Certificate. With accolades of Phi Beta Kappa attached to her degree, Catherine was a proud Husky. She was quickly snapped up by the Edmonds School District and taught multiple grades for over 25 years at College Place, Martha Lake and Cedar Way Elementary schools. Catherine’s commitment and good humor led her to develop long lasting relationships amongst her teaching colleagues and students, becoming a mentor to many and a teacher’s union representative (“you can’t scare me, I’m working for the UNION!”). Catherine imbued her love of learning to all those she came in contact with and set the best possible example to her children and grandchildren.
Retirement from teaching responsibilities did not slow Catherine down, as these were the golden years where she could indulge her love of History and explore the world with Bob. Ever the planner, she embraced Rick Steves and “Europe through the Back Door”, travelling extensively overseas to Great Britain, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Hungary and many of the great wonders of the world. She was also a lover of fine art and the theater, something she enjoyed on multiple trips to New York with Bob and Darcey. Thousands of photographs catalogue these adventures, bringing both pleasure and stinging sadness to those she now leaves behind.
In her final years, despite a challenging diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease, Catherine persevered and never lost connection with those she loved, thankfully. It is with heavy hearts and fond memories that her burgeoning optimism and laughing spirit will be remembered, forever.
Catherine Barker will be lovingly remembered by her husband, Bob Barker, and her elder brother, Rick Hart (Louanne), her two children Bruce Barker (Danica) and Darcey Barker (Brian Harper) and grandchildren Payton and Logan Barker, along with many more from the extended Hart and Barker family.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Edmonds Yacht Club on Sunday, January 21st, between the hours of 1:30 – 4:00 PM.
In Lieu of flowers, all friends and family of Catherine are encouraged to donate to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Please share memories at www.beckstributecenter.com.