John W. Barker, 84, tool designer, welder

May 15, 1999

John W. Barker, a retired tool designer and welder who fulfilled a lifelong ambition when he bought his first motorcycle at age 65, died Wednesday from complications of Alzheimer's disease at Stella Maris Hospice. He was 84.

Mr. Barker, a longtime Ednor Gardens resident who had lived in Phoenix, in Baltimore County, since 1996, was a tool designer at Martin-Marietta Corp. in Middle River for 38 years before retiring in 1972.

He then was a welder at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Key Highway shipyard until he retired a second time in 1979.

Born and raised in southern Baltimore, he graduated from Southern High School. Mr. Barker served in the Army in the Pacific theater in World War II and was discharged at war's end.

An outdoorsman and a member of the Mountain Club of Maryland, he enjoyed hiking and camping. He realized a lifelong dream when he purchased a motorcycle.

"He wanted to buy one for years, but his wife said, `You're not going to kill yourself and leave me alone with two kids to raise,' " said Ruth Barker, a daughter-in-law who lives in Timonium.

Mr. Barker, whose last motorcycle was a Honda 750, rode until he was well into his 70s and enjoyed spending weekends riding and camping. Years ago, he built a motorboat in the back yard of his home and used it to take his family on weekend cruises to Hart-Miller Island.

A longtime Red Cross volunteer, he was also an avid vegetable and rose gardener.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Irene Arndt; a son, John C. Barker of Timonium; a daughter, Kathleen B. Wall of Slidell, La.; a brother, Charles R. Barker of Wilmington, Del.; five grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

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