“Her love is like an island in life’s ocean, vast and wide”
May Barker sadly passed away peacefully on Saturday 9th May 2020 at Leighton Hospital, Crewe after a short illness leaving behind John her husband of 63 years, children Chris, Clare, Gerard, Nick, Helen and Celia, grandchildren Cathy, Mike, Laura, Matt, Ted, Tom, Ellie, Alice, Jake and Megan and great grandchildren George, Emma and Harry (and two more due this summer).
May was born on the 1st December 1931 and grew up on Yew Tree Farm, Sandon, Staffordshire with her parents Mabel and George and her two brothers, George and Ted and was always close with her cousin Mary. It was through working on the family farm that her love of nature developed. She also loved animals, particularly horses, and she was an accomplished horse rider and rode throughout her childhood until she left the farm as a young adult.
She attended local schools in Sandon and Stafford and after finishing school worked for a short time as a secretary at Bibby’s, the Corn Merchants in Stone before meeting John in 1955. They married in 1956 and lived in Grindley and Sandon before moving to 40 Carlisle Street Crewe in 1959. It was here that May devoted all her time and energy, love and care to supporting John and raising their 6 children. She was always the central hub of the family and did all she could to provide a safe and loving home.
May’s motherly care knew no limits and she lovingly and selflessly cared for all the family and often their friends preparing wholesome meals every day and baking incessantly to the delight of everyone who was lucky enough to sample her endless supply of cakes, puddings, home-made bread and home-made jams. May was able to turn her hand to most things and often spent her time knitting and sewing many of the children’s clothes. Her generosity and warmth extended to all including friends, neighbours and relations and everyone was always made welcome.
She looked after the variety of rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, snakes, dogs and cats and other assorted animals that were brought into the house! She took on a range of part time jobs to help finance the household from dinner lady at local schools to milk recording for the Milk Marketing Board.
Each time one of us was married she embraced her sons and daughters in law as one of her own children and built up a very special friendship with each one of them.
May had a real passion and love of literature and was a valued member of the local writer’s circle for many years. She would spend any free time she had, which wasn’t much, on the typewriter creating wonderful children’s stories as well as writing a novel based around farming life. She was a talented wordsmith with a flair for word play and solving crosswords. She loved history and was always happy to chat about historical novels and times and she would demonstrate an amazing recall of dates and events even though she would always say she couldn’t remember a thing!
She had a great gift for impersonating people particularly some of the old farmers she came into contact with and would not only feed the family but then entertain us with her own inimitable sense of humour. So many wonderful little stories and phrases which no one ever seemed to tire of and have now been passed onto the next generation.
For decades she organised annual summer holidays to North Wales giving us all the opportunity to appreciate life in the countryside and together with John, instilling in all of us a love of nature and these experiences contributed to some of our happiest memories.
May exuded spirituality which reflected her strong commitment to her Catholic faith. She and John have spent 61 years attending St. Mary’s church in Crewe and when we were children would all attend mass taking up a whole pew between us. She clearly gained an inner strength to deal with the setbacks in her life and was able to console and comfort so many of us in times of sadness and worry through her constant loving support and prayers. She could always see the positive in everybody and was always able to make time for anyone even if some of them could try the patience of a saint as she has been heard to say.
Dad often referred to mum as the blessed mother and there is probably no better description of her and he should know best. Mum radiated warmth, love and energy for life and her kindness and compassion knew no bounds. She was the most giving, generous hearted person who was always prepared to put others before herself and anyone who was lucky enough to have had any connection with her always came away feeling special and privileged to know her.
Rest in peace mum in the full knowledge that you have left an incredible legacy on this earth with all your extended family and touched the lives of so many people. You will never be forgotten as you are forever in our hearts to guide and care for us just the same as you always have.