JARS v56n2 - In Memoriam: Marge Barker

In Memoriam: Marge Barker
Adele Jones

Marge Barker passed away of cancer on December 28, 2001. She will be remembered for her steadfastness by her family and friends. We who knew Marge and her late husband, Tom, will recall their cheerful greetings and their many hours of volunteer work for the American Rhododendron Society.

Born and raised in Spokane, Washington, Marge received her education in nursing there also. Marge came to an interest in gardening and rhododendrons after she and Tom moved their family to Lake Oswego in 1972. They purchased a home with a large yard and tall Douglas firs and transformed it into a unique garden filled with rhododendrons and companion plants.

The Cecil and Molly Smith Garden was her special interest and she served on the garden committee for many years. She and Tom were in charge of plant sales there from 1985 to 1990, scarcely missing an open garden day. Marge enjoyed educating plant buyers about the plants they were purchasing. She was also knowledgeable about many of the companion plants in the Smith Garden. Since 1990, Marge continued to help at many of the Smith Garden open garden days, both selling plants and guiding visitors through the garden. She was often at the garden at other times for special tours and events.

Marge was secretary of the Portland Chapter for several years beginning in 1988. She and Tom helped plan many of the spring banquets. They enlivened the plant auctions with their spirited bidding. Together they attended many of the Western Regional Conference meetings making new friends up and down the coast. Marge and Tom were awarded the Bronze Medal by the Portland Chapter, May 1992.

As a fitting tribute, Marge and Tom's daughters and their families have planned to dedicate a bench at the Cecil and Molly Smith Garden to their parents' memory. It will appropriately enough be placed near the plant sales area.