Edsel Ray Barker

January 9, 1924March 13, 2013

Edsel Ray Barker, of Ann Arbor, MI, passed away on March 13, 2013, at home, cared for by his five children and the staff of Arbor Hospice. He was born January 9, 1924 in Cannel City, KY to John Russell Barker and Rida Susan Barker. The tenth of their 15 children, Edsel was well-loved by his large family. While at Jenkins High School, he met the town doctor's daughter, Dorothy Lee Chitwood, and they were married in February of 1943. Shortly after their wedding, Edsel enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Serving as a B-17 waist gunner in World War II, he was based in Foggia, Italy. In April of 1944, the airplane was shot down, and most of the crew was captured by German soldiers. They were imprisoned at Stalag 17-B, Krems, Austria, until the end of the war. Edsel returned home and began college at Xavier University, in Cincinnati, OH. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Xavier in 1950. He worked as a chemist and technical writer at Proctor and Gamble, General Electric, Argonne National Labs, and General Dynamics (San Diego) After his retirement, Edsel found his second calling as an artist: over the next 24 years he created 107 works of Bricolage, a medium in which he excelled. In 2000, he returned to Kentucky and opened an art gallery in Somerset, where he not only displayed his own work, but also that of local artisans of southern Kentucky. He moved to Ann Arbor in 2011 to be near his children. Edsel was a life-long Presbyterian, an elder in his church, a loving, generous father and grandfather, a role model for his children, a proud American and a faithful friend. He found joy in his family and friends, his art, nature, music, and folk dancing. He is survived by his five children: John Barker of Saline, Jennifer France (Chet) of Dexter, Martha Spieller (Dean) of Santa Cruz, CA, Peter Barker of Ann Arbor and South Bend, IN, and Susan Barker of Tacoma, WA. He also leaves ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was loved and respected by all who knew him and will be greatly missed. The memorial service and interment will take place at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. at a later date.


Edsel Ray Barker

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Nicole France

April 14, 2013

You'll be missed Grandad. I love you. You were really special to me. I'm glad I got to spend time with you the last two years.

Molly Barker

March 29, 2013

I love you Granddad , I miss you. Rest in Peace <3

Jan Leckrone

March 20, 2013

I know how it feels to lose a father, even when it's expected. I hope your grieving will include some joyful memories of your dad, too.

March 19, 2013

Dear Susan and Family,

May you find comfort in your faith and God's Grace. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Henry and Billie Johnson

Linda Barker

March 18, 2013

Thinking of ERB always brings a smile to my face. Just the most lovely and loving man.

Jim Quillen

March 17, 2013

Rest in peace Uncle Edsel, you were an American Hero.
Jim & Jennifer Quillen
Somerset, Ky.

Shelia Quillen

March 17, 2013

He was Special in so many ways and will be missed by all who knew him.

Greg Quillen

March 17, 2013

Uncle Edsel was dear to my heart. He was one of the "Greatest Generation" and a national hero. Rest in peace, Uncle Edsel.

Jack Barker

March 17, 2013

Walk with the angels, Dad.

Bill Boggs

March 15, 2013

To Edsel's Family,

My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you. Edsel was a good man, and he raised a wonderful family. I know he will be missed terribly.