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Don died at the age of 69, surrounded by his family after being unable to recover from a Covid infection complicated by his rare autoimmune disease. He was Gail’s loving husband of 46 years, father of Kristen, Megan and Kyle Barker and grandfather to Maya Velasquez, Alexandra and Ayla Matzen. He was the son of the late Lawrence and Geraldine Barker, and son-in-law to Lawrence and the late Jane Austing. He was the brother of David (Kathy) Barker and Greg (Janet) Barker and in-laws: Cathy (Bill Herring), Ren (Elisa) Austing and Chris (Mary Pat) Austing. He also leaves many nieces, nephews and friends.
Don was a graduate of Xavier University with degrees in History and Hospital Administration. For most of his career he ran his own company Health Service Review, with two partners. He was proud of creating a healthy work environment in which his employees were well compensated and his clients given excellent service. He was an invested Board member of several non-profits for over four decades, often helping with knotty personnel issues. These included: WIN (Working in Neighborhoods), The Children’s Way Montessori School, CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace in El Salvador), and Co-op Cincy. He grew very enthusiastic about causes that interested his children. He was eager to learn new things and ever enthusiastic.
As a child of the 50s, he was willing to forge a new type of marriage by being notably supportive of Gail’s medical education and career. For example, he was willing to sleep overnight in a hospital call room, squeezing his 6’5” frame into a tiny twin bed with young Kristen, so that Gail could nurse baby Megan overnight. He was inordinately kind and very funny. He was a man who never knew a stranger and could relate to anyone. When he met a new person, he invariably knew something about the businesses in their hometown. He was the original GPS, a trivia wizard, and had the uncanny ability to total a grocery bill in his head within a few cents. He was a passionate Musketeer and Bengal sports fan, even in the lean years. His family was the most important thing to him, and he showed up for all of us, everyday.
In lieu of flowers, he would be thrilled to have you contribute, in his memory, to Co-op Cincy, where he served on the fund raising committee. It is an organization working to build an economy that works for all through worker ownership. There will be a visitation at Hodapp Funeral Home, 6041 Hamilton Avenue, College Hill, 45224 on Tuesday, March 7th from 5-7 pm. The funeral mass will be at St Clare Church 1443 Cedar Avenue, College Hill, 45224 on March 8th at 10:30 am. It will be live-streamed on https://www.saintclareparish.org/livestream
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