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May Barker

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.

8 Condolences

  1. Anne Walker (Carter) on May 15, 2020 at 8:20 am

    My sincere condolences to dear John and the family. The parish has lost such a special lady. Her service to the parish over the years has been outstanding. Such a graceful, thoughtful lady.

    May she achieve her special place in heaven and rest in eternal peace.

    - Approved by oconnell
  2. Milly on May 17, 2020 at 10:50 am

    I have many special memories of visiting the Barker household since I was a young girl and being greeted every time by May with offers of a drink and a piece of cake. She was a very special lady who made everyone feel so welcome and the household was always warm and full of love.

    Sending my love and condolences to all of the family at such a very sad time, especially to John who over the years has filled everyone’s lives with much laughter and he is very much in my thoughts at the moment.

    Thinking of you.

    - Approved by oconnell
  3. Helen Robinson on May 18, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Please accept my sincere condolences on your loss.
    I feel blessed to have known May and to have been welcomed into the Barker household on many occasions. May exuded warmth, kindness, and love – qualities that live on through her beautiful family.
    I hope the precious memories you carry in your hearts will help you through this sad time. Sending special thoughts and love to John.

    - Approved by oconnell
  4. Alison Hopkins on May 19, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    I am so incredibly sad at the loss of such a special and beautiful person that May was.
    The memories I have of being made to feel so welcome in the Barker home will always be very dear to me. Mummy Barker was always at the helm, making sure I was fed with home cooked delicious food she had just rustled up from scratch, finished off with some amazing cake or pudding and was always happy for me to stay the night, no matter what time me and Celia rolled in!
    I know May will be so sadly missed and my deepest condolence go out to all the Barker family. I feel very blessed to have known May and I know there will be a big space left by her passing. With much love to you all.

    - Approved by oconnell
  5. Sharron Bates on May 19, 2020 at 11:53 pm

    When I think of May, I can’t help but smile because that is what she made you do, she made you feel happy. I can hear her welcoming me now into the the Barker home, with a big hug, a beautiful smile. She always made you feel on top of the world, troubles and worries were left at the door. The warmth and love emanated from both May and John has always been a tonic to the soul. May was funny, kind, thoughtful and a dear lovely mum. I have been very blessed to have known this lovely lady and John and the family. She will be sadly missed by all her knew her. I send my sincere condolences and much love to you all. xxx

    - Approved by oconnell
  6. Clare White on May 21, 2020 at 11:48 am

    A truly remarkable woman, who exuded love and joy and a waft of home baking. May was magic and it was a privilege to have known her and John, and to have been embraced as a member of the extended Barker family.
    So much love to you all
    Clare xxx

    - Approved by oconnell
  7. Helen Raiswell on May 21, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Deepest condolences to John, Chris, Clare, Gerard, Nick, Helen, Celia and your families from the Raiswells.

    The sad news about May released a flood of happy childhood memories of long summer holidays and bonfire nights spent at 40 Carlisle Street; games, concerts for the neighbours, penny for the guy and fireworks, accompanied by wonderful cakes, potatoes baked in the bonfire, treacle toffee and parsnip wine.

    When a couple of years ago, despite some trepidation, three of us had the cheek to gatecrash your Christmas family gathering, we were welcomed by May, John and your whole family (even new members of the Barker clan who had never met us before), with that same warmth and open arms – just as we had always been.

    May was such a special lady, so full of love for other families as well as her own. She was funny, clever, firm and strong. You will all miss her infinitely, but she will always be there in your hearts, continuing to guide you.

    - Approved by oconnell
  8. Joyce Harp on May 22, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Dear John

    A Peaceful Prayer

    God saw she was getting tired
    And a cure was not to be
    So He put His arms around her
    And whispered “come with me”
    With tearful eyes we watched her suffer
    And saw her fade away.

    Although we Love her dearly
    We could not make her stay
    A Golden Heart stopped beating
    Small, frail hands put to rest
    God broke our to prove to us
    He only takes the Best

    With Love and Prayers
    from Joyce (Joyce Harp)

    - Approved by oconnell

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