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Monday, July 17, 2023
7:00 - 9:00pm (Mountain time)
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
10:00 - 10:45am (Mountain time)
Tuesday, July 18, 2023
11:00am - 12:00pm (Mountain time)
Joseph Keith Barker – beloved hero, husband, father, grandpa and great-grandpa – passed away at his home in Ogden, UT on Tuesday, July 4th, 2023.
Keith was born on October 7th, 1933, to Joseph Delbert Barker and Ester Arnetta Goodliffe in Ogden, Utah. Keith’s mother passed away when he was only 18 months old. Growing up, Keith spent a lot of time at his grandparents' house and helping his dad run the Barker Dairy. After a childhood illness left both his brother (Jay) and sister (Kleda) with hearing loss they were sent away for special schooling, leaving Keith alone most of his youth. At the age of 17, his father died, and Keith had to move into a boarding house to finish his schooling. While those early years weren't easy for him, in typical Keith fashion, he didn’t let these early struggles stop him. He went on to graduate from Ogden High School in 1951 where he met his life-long companion, Lucille.
After serving an honorable LDS church mission to the Chicago Illinois Mission, Keith married his sweetheart Lucille in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 30th, 1955. Keith entered BYU’s ROTC program and then enlisted in the United States Air Force (USAF) where he served our nation faithfully until he was almost 85 years old. He served his first year-long tour of duty in 1967-68 during the Vietnam War and would serve five more tours of duty before the end of the war in 1975. He was a top-notch navigator in F-111 Fighter Jets, with the 474 TFW, Road Runners Squad.
Serving in the military meant Keith, Lucy and their four kids would all come to understand sacrifice. During his 21 years of active service, the family moved many times and experienced frequent separations from Keith for up to a year at a time. He retired from active duty in 1978 at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, as a Major in the USAF. At that time, he and Lucy finally moved back to the place they always called home: Ogden. Keith then went to work for Hill AFB as an electrical engineer, working with F-111 simulators on several bases around the country and the world. He was still traveling to outposts as far as Australia and Saudi Arabia well into his 70s. Keith never wanted to stop working and planned on living until he turned 107.
In addition to loving his country, Keith loved Jesus Christ. He served faithfully in various callings (volunteer positions) and regularly attended church until his passing. Keith enjoyed singing and often sang with his ward (local congregation) choir, sharing his testimony of Jesus Christ through music.
Keith lived a life of service to not only God and country, but also to family. He cared for his wife for many years during her failing health and attended every birthday party, graduation, and other family event he could. Keith loved and was kind to all animals including dogs, cats, and horses and he passed that love of animals on to many of his children and grandchildren. In addition to his love of people, he was well known for his grit, his loving patience, infectious laugh, amazing slalom water skiing skills, handyman skills, and ability to dish up and eat a large bowl of ice cream. Keith will be greatly missed by all that knew and loved him.
Keith adored and loved his family most of all. He is preceded in death by his wife Lucille, three children who died in infancy (Leslie, John Michael, and Mark), his brother Jay Barker, sister Kleda Barker Quigley, his parents, and his great grandson Malakai. He is survived by his sons, Jeffrey and Cory (Colette), daughters Kristi (Thomas) and Lisa (Lynn) - 9 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his faithful pup companion, Esther, who stayed by his side day and night, who will miss riding in the truck with her dad and licking the bowl of his leftover ice cream.
His family would like to send a huge thank you to David & Flo Stacey, The Black Bear Diner and Chad Arnold Auto for helping us take such great care of Keith.
A Memorial Service will be held at Leavitt's Mortuary located at 836 36th St in Ogden, Utah on Tuesday July 18th at 11am. The Viewing will be on July 17th from 7-9pm and on July 18th at 10am. The Interment will be at Aultorest Memorial Park in Ogden, Utah.