Marty Barker, 65, of Collegeville, husband of Debbie (Hume) Barker, passed away peacefully Friday March 3, 2023 in his home. He was surrounded by his family and the love of all who knew him..
Born in Yonkers, NY, he was the son of George Barker and the late Patricia (Tuohy) Barker.
Marty had a lifelong love of sports. He loved playing in them, watching them and supporting friends and family when they played. His boxes of medals and ribbons date back to 1967 (2nd place in 10/11 year old 150 yard dash, 3rd
place in the 100 and 200 dash in speed skating). In 8th grade he completed a 5-mile endurance swim. In high school he was a pole vaulter and ran track. He was a varsity letterman in cross country all four years of high school, varsity track for three years and captained the cross-country team in 1975. Even after an accident in 1976 left him paralyzed he continued in sports, inspiring other paraplegics residing at the Rusk Rehab Institute to challenge a team of paraplegics at another rehab center to a wheelchair basketball game. His team (Rusk’s Fractured Ducks) won the game 20-17.
He graduated from Lakeland High School in Shrub Oak, NY in 1976 and in 1986 he graduated from West Chester Community College with a degree in recreation. For the next 40+ years he played on wheelchair softball and basketball teams. He swam, skied, wheeled through road races and loved to scuba dive. In 1983, he won a gold medal in Hawaii at the National Wheelchair Games. His activities promoted the spreading of handicap awareness and allowed him to travel around the country, Canada and Puerto Rico. At a local level, he served on Yorktown’s Committee for Disabled advocating for increased awareness of the problems faced by the disabled population. He was a man of great strength, integrity and determination.
Marty worked at Bristol Myers Squib for 35 years. He began in Connecticut and later moved to locations in New Jersey. In 2008 he married his wife Debbie, barefoot on a beach in Jamaica. He welcomed her three children into his loving family and later was blessed with two granddaughters who he adored. When he retired in 2021, he created a workshop in his garage and spent hours making many intricate and fun creations that he shared with family and friends.
Marty was a kind man with a ready smile. He loved spending time with his family and friends. He was beloved and admired by all who knew him. He was a quiet and attentive listener, eager to engage with all and always ready with a corny joke or a new trick. He enjoyed hard sandy beaches, warm dives, cold beer, woodworking, brain teasers, backyard barbeques, dancing and scuba. But most of all he loved his family.
Surviving along with his wife and father are his sisters Laura Donelan and husband Eddie, Colleen Negersmith, his step children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his sister Kate and brother-in-law Kent Negersmith.
A Celebration of Life memorial luncheon will be held for friends and family from noon to 3:00 p.m. at Chadwick,s, The Club at Shannondell in Audobon, PA. on Saturday, March 25, 2023.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Marty’s memory to The Reef Ball Foundation to support its work to preserve aquatic habitat and shorelines. (reefballfoundation.org)