Wilma Jean (Caskey) Barker
July 29, 1941 - December 11, 2020
Wilma Jean Caskey was the 5th child born to Ida Mae and Cecil Carroll Caskey, in Hallsville, Texas, on July 29, 1941. Following the passing of her father when she was 9 months old, Wilma, her mother and siblings eventually moved to be near family in Burns, Oregon.
A significant event which would shape the woman Wilma would become happened when she was about 6 years old. Wilma was walking around the block from their rented basement apartment. When she came across a church where a man and woman were cleaning the yard and putting “pretty pamphlets” on display. She asked if she could have some and what the pictures on the pamphlets were for. They told her about a Heavenly Father and his son Jesus who loved her. That moment in time where Wilma felt the love of a father that she so longed for would shape her life. As those of us who have had the privilege of meeting her and sharing life with her, we have all experienced the blessing of her generous love for others as a result of her experiencing the love of her heavenly father.
In 1953, the family moved to Roseburg, and attended the Assembly of God church. Eventually Wilma’s path would cross with her future husband, Clarence Barker. In 1958, Clarence’s sister, introduced them to each other, which was the beginning of what would be 62 years of marriage.
Their life together has been filled with love, laughter, service to their 4 children and their families, church and community. While spending the majority of their married life in Salem, Clarence and Wilma also enjoyed numerous opportunities to travel. They made trips to the South Pacific, have visited nearly every State Capital, and Wilma even traveled to Scotland for the birth of her first grandchild. Some of their best memories were of travels they shared with Warren and Pat Barker, Clarence’s older brother and his wife.
Humor was a centerpiece in Wilma’s life. She loved to laugh, and loved to share the gift of humor with others. She walked into a youth group class she was teaching dressed as Mr. Rogers. In her work with women’s ministries she put on a production called “Miss Canon Beast”. She put together a quartet she called “The Box Shop Quartet”, where the singers walked out dressed in giant Christmas boxes, which of course led to her intentional stumble for comedic effect.
She was active in serving her local church throughout her life, as a Sunday school teacher, camp counselor, youth group leader, food bank volunteer, prayer intercessor, and most passionately as a women’s ministry leader. She had an amazing ability to encourage, bring joy and laughter and love everyone who crossed her path.
Wilma’s love for life and others was infectious. Her unselfish love was an outpouring of her gratitude for having the gift of a Heavenly Father and a Savior who gave his life for her, and as a result, she would love others through giving and serving. She had an uncanny ability to see a need and then do whatever she could to meet that need. There were numerous occasions where she would show up at people’s homes with boxes of much needed groceries, or call someone who she sensed needed support or encouragement.
Wilma spent the last 3 years of her life at Jefferson Lodge Memory Care in Dallas, Oregon. She passed from this life into the arms of her Heavenly Father, the morning of December 11th, surrounded by her family. She is survived by her husband, Clarence Barker; sister Lucille Cross; brother Charles Caskey; children Sheri (David) Mayer, Barbara (John) Fontana, Christopher (Crystal) Barker, Bradley (Stacie) Barker, 10 grandchildren, and 9 great grandchildren.
A celebration of life will be held at 3 pm on Sunday, January 17, 2021 at Valley Life Center, Dallas, Oregon. Since seating is limited, the service will be live streamed at Valleylife.love
In Lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to Marion Polk Food Share marionpolkfoodshare.org , and Hope Pregnancy Clinic hopeforsalem.org , two charities Wilma was passionate about. The Dallas Mortuary Tribute Center is caring for the family. www.dallastribute.com