James “Jim” Eugene Barker was born August 18, 1948, in Sheridan to George and Ruth (White) Barker. He spent a great deal of his childhood playing with his sister and cousins at their grandparent’s ranch in Parkman. He graduated from Sheridan High School in 1966 and loved attending his 50th class reunion. In high school, he was a member of the Antelope Butte ski patrol. After he graduated, he joined the Wyoming National Guard.
On June 20, 1972, he married the love of his life, LaJenda Smith, at the First Methodist Church in Sheridan. Together they had three children: Jamie, David, and Molly. He loved his family very much.
Jim was skilled at many trades; much of his knowledge was due to the time he spent as a boy learning about dirt work, machines, and politics from his father and uncles at Barker Brothers.
Jim was blessed with the ability to “think in angles”; he could look at something and see how it worked and how it was put together. He could also tell you what was wrong with your car if you could make the sound for him. He was a lifelong gearhead; racing cars, owning a mechanic shop, and restoring old vehicles. He also loved music; playing drums, going to concerts, and teaching himself about sound systems. He ran the soundboard at his church and WYO Theater and set up sound for his son’s bands.
Jim never met a stranger. There were times when his family would ask him if the person he was talking to was an old friend and he’d reply that no, he’d just met them. He enjoyed driving around town in his truck with his beloved dogs sitting shotgun.
Jim was a member of the Nazarene Church. He taught Sunday School for many years and loved to participate in class discussions. He lived his faith through action; whether it was fixing someone’s broken down car, helping someone move, or stopping by for a visit to see how you were doing. He was always ready to lend a hand.
Jim is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his wife LaJenda and children Jamie (David) Newbrough, David (Shawna) Barker of Denver, and Molly (Jake) Flint; his grandchildren Ada and Evelyn Newbrough and Megan, Zach, and Boone Flint; his sister Gail (Vergal) Aydelott of Hysham, MT; in-laws Ray and Betty Smith; siblings-in-law Derrick Smith, Lisa (Randy) Schroeder, and Stuart (Megan) Smith. The family will always be grateful to the bone marrow donor that gave us three more years with Jim.
Memorials to honor Jim may be made to the Dog and Cat Shelter, 84 East Ridge Road, Sheridan, WY 81801.
Online condolences may be written at www.kanefuneral.com.
Kane Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.