FIT FOR DUTY – Thirty-seven recruits graduating from the Alaska Department of Public Safety Training Academy's Law Enforcement Training Session 1802 take the oath of office this afternoon at the Sheet'ka Kwaan Naa Kahidi. The audience was told that during the rigorous 16-week session recruits lost a combined 200 pounds of body fat. The graduates will be taking law enforcement positions around the state from the North Slope Borough Police Department to statewide Alaska Wildlife Troopers to the Ketchikan Police Department. Speaker at the ceremony was DPS Deputy Commissioner William Comer, who graduated from the academy in 1985. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Delores L. Barker

Delores Lavon Barker, who enjoyed her life in Sitka for  more than 45 years, died Feb. 23 at the Sitka Pioneers home. She was 88.
At her request, no services will be held. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the White Elephant shop.
Delores was born July 24, 1924, in Elizabeth, Ill., to Henry and Clara Koehn. She left Illinois at age 19 to become a welder for Boeing in Washington state, to do her part for the war effort.  She later worked as a waitress in Redmond, Wash., where Mr. Fred Barker took her under his wing and introduced her to the love of her life, and future husband of 62 years, Ernest “Brick” Barker.
After Ernest was discharged from the Army, they moved to Issaquah,  Wash., where they had the first three of their six children; after settling in Kirkland, Wash., they had the last three children.
During this time Delores was a dedicated mother, wife and homemaker.  She also returned to school to complete her high school education and classes in accounting and bookkeeping.
In 1968 her brother-in-law called from Sitka for the family to join them for construction work, Ernest came and Delores and three children soon followed, and so began the Barker love affair with Alaska!
Delores and Ernest bought Island Taxi, and the family business employed all the children and many of the grandchildren for more than 14 years. She worked as the bookkeeper, dispatcher and overall caretaker of the many family and friends who worked there through the years.
Additionally, Delores and Ernest founded Barkers Auto Repair, which is still in operation today.
Delores’s passion, when it came to work, was her volunteer work at the White Elephant, a foundation that not only allowed her access to the community she loved but had assisted her in the emergency care of one of her young children.
Upon her “retirement,” Delores enjoyed working part time for Avis and worked four summers managing Avis in Skagway, much to the delight of fellow Sitkans who had summer businesses in Skagway.
Her next love was watching her beloved Atlanta Braves with her loving husband Ernie.
“Grandma never met a bad person, she could find beauty in anyone and anything – her love and kindness knew no bounds,” her family said.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Ernest Barker; her parents, Clara and Henry Koehn; and her siblings, Clayton Koehn and Dorothy Paup.
She is survived by her six children Larry Barker (Marilyn), Linda Barker-Olsen (Eric) and Patrick Barker (Martha), all of Sitka; Tammy Barker of Tacoma, Wash., Lori Barker (Joey) of Haines and Martin John Barker of Sitka; and a sister Bernice Boots of Iowa.
She is also survived by grandchildren Shelley Gillaspey, Victoria Echols, Angela Delores Mellen, Richard Littlefield, Erica Jones, Denise Heckman, Patrick Barker Jr., Michelle Barker, Melanie Barker, Aaron Weddel, Nolan Weddel and Joshua Beckett. 
She is also survived by 31 great grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren; and many, many nieces and nephews.
Delores Lavon Barker was an accomplished poet, musician, artist and writer who touched so many with her kind and beautiful words.  But most of all she was a devoted mother, grandmother and friend. She will be missed by all ....

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