About Jack Barker

Who Was Jack Barker?

Early Life & Education

The oldest of four children, John Paul “Jack” Barker Jr. was born to Marjorie Louise Wheeler and John Paul Barker on March 11, 1944, in St. Augustine, Florida. He graduated from high school in Laurel, Maryland in 1962, and attended the University of Maryland, where he received his bachelor’s degree and an advanced degree in pharmacy in 1968.

After college, Mr. Barker served in the Air Force, earning a Certificate of Aeronautical Rating and a Commercial Pilot’s License. His pilot training at Williams Air Force Base in Chandler gave him his first taste of Arizona (a state he would eventually return to in 1976, and then call home for the rest of his life). After the Air Force, he joined the Maryland Air National Guard, working as a pharmacist by day, and completing law school in the evenings at the University of Baltimore.

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Starting a Family

Shortly after graduating from law school in 1975, Mr. Barker took a job at Mesa Lutheran Hospital while he prepared to take the Arizona State Bar Exam; after passing the Bar, he practiced law in Phoenix, where he met his wife of 35 years, Sheryl Barker. After marrying in Kauai, the couple moved to Pinetop and raised their two children, Keven and Kelley.

Community Service

In Pinetop, he first served as the attorney for the local hospital, sanitary district, and ski area, then as Town Attorney for the Town of Springerville for thirteen years, and Town Attorney for the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside for twenty years.

With endless energy, enthusiasm, and a caring spirit, Mr. Barker devoted a tremendous amount of time and his professional skills to serving the community. He was a member of the Blue Ridge School District Board, coached the Sunrise Park Ski Race Team, served as Assistant Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America, and founded the White Mountain Bereavement Group. He spent countless hours serving and advising local businesses, organizations, and nonprofits, including:

  • Audubon Society
  • Friends of Pinetop-Lakeside Library
  • Humane Society of the White Mountains
  • Pinetop-Lakeside Chamber of Commerce
  • Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Foundation

Family Life & Legacy

Though the community may remember him for his selflessness and service to others, Mr. Barker’s primary love was his family. His wife, children, grandchildren, and many friends and acquaintances will always remember his bright smile, zest for life, and the love and inspiration that he shared with them. He truly loved Arizona, especially the tranquility of the White Mountains, and explored them through his numerous outdoor pursuits — hunting, fishing, photography, and skiing.

Mr. Barker passed away unexpectedly on March 11, 2017, shortly before his 73rd birthday. He leaves behind a legacy of service to his community and his country, and will be remembered for his love of life, his joyful and giving spirit, and his genuine care and respect for others. In his honor, planning for the Jack Barker Memorial Park is underway.