Thursday, February 9, 2023

Frances Barker, Community Promoter

Atwood Barker  founded "Barker's Corner" with his general merchandise and feed store in 1937. His daughter Frances Barker was a longtime community supporter who was active for years with the St. Tammany Parish Fair Association and well-known for her Red Cross work throughout the area. She loved attending local sports events. 

Frances Barker at the fair exhibit spotlighting Atwood Barker's store
(Photo by Ron Barthet)

In 2019, Frances Barker visited the Lee Road Junior High School educational exhibit at the St. Tammany Parish Fair. The exhibit contained many old photographs from school classes, a great deal of information about the tung oil industry north of Lee Road, and a mock up of the entrance to Atwood Barker's General Merchandise Store, a community focal point for many years. Frances and the entire Lee Road community are among the most actively involved folks in parish fair projects and shows over the years. 

In 1958 she was 4-H Club Queen

A photograph from 1959

She married Richard Edward Bankston, Jr., in 1959.

Frances Delores Barker passed away peacefully at her home in Covington on January 27, 2023, at the age of 81. According to her obituary from E.J. Fielding Funeral Home, she was born to Atwood Nathan Barker and Dorothy Christine Barker on May 28, 1941, and lived  in and around Barker’s Corner, the small close-knit community that bore her father’s name.

 She attended Lee Road Consolidated School and graduated from Covington High in 1959. Following her graduation from high school, she entered Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La. 

"She was one-of-a-kind, larger than life and made an art out of conversation. She never met a stranger, was completely selfless and possessed an unmatched ability to make everyone feel like the most special person in the world. She was ahead of her time in many ways. She raised a daughter all while working a farm, operating a convenience and a feed store, and running the treasured B&B Drive-in. 

Barker's Corner

"Her heart for people and her community was as big as her magnalite roaster. Whether she was cooking for four or forty, she filled her largest pot to the brim knowing that someone was always in need of a good, home cooked meal. Her service, however, reached well beyond her kitchen and local community. 

Red Cross Work

"She touched many people and families through her nearly two decades of work with the American Red Cross and United Way. She was also actively involved with the St. Tammany Parish Farm Bureau, St. Tammany Parish Fair and the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals, having served as President of each organization."

She also served on the board of directors for the Lurline Smith Mental Health Center.

She spoke at many community meetings

In 2016 Mrs. Frances Barker, center above, was special guest speaker at the school's 75th anniversary. 

Speaking at school's 75th anniversary gathering

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