Bruce Norman Barker
October 25, 1924 - September 2, 2019
Bruce was born in Glendale, CA to Clyde and Bess (Timmons). He grew up during the depression years when money was tight. He left school at the beginning of his senior year when WWII was well underway to join the U.S. Navy in Feb. 1942. He was trained as a diesel mechanic and saw active duty in Normandy and Okinawa. After the war, Bruce finished high school and supported himself as a carpenter, a collections agent for GMAC, and taught maintenance of diesel engines in Detroit.
While in Detroit, Bruce became reacquainted with an old girlfriend and married Lucia Edwards on May 29, 1955. They soon returned to So. California. The Barkers had two children, Ross born in 1956 and Sally born in 1961. The family loved outdoor adventures including hiking in the woods, beaches, digging clams, and playing in the tidal pools. Bruce purchased the Echo, an old U.S. Navy Admiral’s barge that had been converted into a pleasure craft. The Echo provided endless trips and countless stories.
The Barker family moved to Bellevue, WA in 1961 where they raised their children. In 1963, Bruce purchased Washington Boat Center, a marina on Lake Union where he rented out moorage and sold used boats. He soon obtained the Tollycraft franchise and began a highly successful career selling powerboats. In later years, he added Grand Banks, Blue Water, and Lake Buccaneer aircraft to his inventory, but the Tollys were always the star of WBC. Bruce described selling boats as a “glamorous and risky business.” Bruce retired from selling boats in 1983 and became a landlord, leasing the moorage space, offices, and drydock to many businesses and individuals.
Bruce worked hard and played hard. As a semi-retired man, he gardened, traveled in an RV, hiked, biked, and skied. He fell in love with the American southwest and decorated his home with southwestern art. He was a great cook perfecting bread, soups, and salads. If you stopped by his house unexpectedly, he always had a cup of soup and a fresh loaf of bread available.
Bruce loved exercise and keeping his body in shape. He was constantly improving his home by putting his carpentry and mechanical skills to work and enjoyed finding the most efficient way to accomplish each task. Bruce loved being around people and enjoying a glass of wine. His hot tub was in constant use. He always had a smile on his face as he spent time enjoying the moment as well as planning for the next big adventure.
Bruce married Kim Dobbs on July 30, 2012. He often said how much he loved her and how blessed he was to have her. They purchased a home in Bothell, WA and enjoyed hosting parties and building a life together. At his 90th Birthday Party, Bruce said he hoped that everyone there that night would be his friend for as long as he lived. He genuinely loved and cherished his family and friends. Family meant the world to him.
For the past two years, as Bruce’s health declined, his home has been Blueberry Gardens, an adult family home. Thanks to the wonderful staff that learned to love and appreciate him, including Martina and Anna. Anna helped keep his mind sharp by playing board games every night with him. Bruce will be missed.
Bruce is preceded in death by his parents and his brother Bob Barker. He is survived by his wife, Kim, his children Ross and Chitra Barker of Graham, WA, Sally and Carl Crouse of Nooksack, WA, 6 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. A private memorial service will be held on October 5. Memorial gifts may be made to a favorite charity of your choice.
A private memorial service will be held on October 5.
Memorial gifts may be made to a favorite charity of your choice.