1926 ~ 2013
Desmond James Barker, Jr. passed away peacefully surrounded by his loved ones on May 10, 2013. Des was born October 8, 1926 in Ogden, Utah to Desmond J. Barker and Mary Cassidy Bybee Barker.
He attended Ogden and Salt Lake City schools and enlisted in the Navy at age 17. During WWII
he served ona destroyer as a sonar operator and at war's end was assigned to Armed Forces Radio Service in Adak, Alaska until his honorable discharge in 1946. He participated in many Pacific battles most notably Iwo Jima and Okinawa and survived Kamikaze attacks. His ship was in Tokyo Bay the day after the war ended and he was present for the official surrender ceremonies. His experiences of running an Armed Forces Radio station carried him through his lifelong passion of historical sound, Jazz music and oral histories.
He worked for Utah, Idaho and Wyoming radio and television stations before opening his own business in 1961. As with others in early TV, at various times he was an announcer, newsman
, writer, director, producer, salesman, film buyer, program director and participated in planning and establishing one Idaho TV station.
He married the love of his life, Marilyn Conover on August 26, 1958. Later solemnized in the Salt Lake LDS Temple in 1960. Together, they loved raising three children, running a successful business, serving God, Family and Country. He often said, " I didn't start living until I found Marilyn". They were each other's whole world.
He formed the Des Barker Agency in 1961 engaged in advertising and public relations and participated in many major Utah and national political campaigns for over 50 years. In 1970 the business was incorporated as Barker & Jorgensen. He and Howard Jorgensen were partners for 34 years. He retired in 2001.
He was a confidant of governors, congressmen and senators for over 50 years and served as a Special Assistant to President Nixon for domestic communications in 1971-72; and as a consultant to the Under Secretary of the US Department of Transportation in 1969-71. Des was a candidate for the United States Senate in 1976.
He was a consultant to Kennecott Copper, Great Salt Lake Minerals, Merrill Lynch, American Express and Martin Marietta. He represented Utah's coal industry in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong for several years, participating in trade missions with Governors Bangerter and Matheson.
He served as Chairman of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce 1981-82, and was Vice Chairman of the Institutional Council, the governing body of the University of Utah from 1979-87. He was an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America until his retirement.
An active member of the LDS Church, he served on the Nauvoo Restoration advisory committee 1967-71; taught Gospel Doctrine classes for many years and served as a High Priest Group Leader in various Wards.
Blessed with creative, ingenious and mechanical talents, he restored many classic automobiles and a historic pioneer farm property.
He was an accredited researcher at the British Library, the British Imperial War Museum, the British Sound Records Library and the BBC. He collected historic sound recordings for more than 50 years with a significant collection.
In 2002, the Emeritus Alumni Association of the University of Utah awarded him its Merit of Honor Award. He was a 1952 graduate of the university, was editor of the Daily Utah Chronicle, a member of Skull & Bones and Owl & Key honorary societies and Sigma Chi fraternity. He served as a member of the Hinckley Institute of Politics Advisory Board for more than 35 years.
He is survived by his loving wife, Marilyn C. Barker, daughter Melinda B. Hixson (Morgan), daughter Rosanne B. Winder (Robert) and son Desmond C. Barker (Jane). His ten grandchildren ( Katie, Andrew, Tim, Elle, Sam, James, Sarah, Madeline, Drue, and Matthew) will sorely miss their "Grandad" and his wonderful life lessons and timeless advice. He is preceded in death by his parents Desmond J. and Mary Cassidy Barker, brother John Bybee Barker and sister Helen Barker Evans. He had numerous uncles, aunts and cousins that have always wrapped him in loving kindness. They were second parents and siblings throughout his life.
He endured 10 years of slowly degrading health and mobility. His mind remained uniquely keen. His cherished wife Marilyn, dearly cared for him with love and compassion. Des appreciated Lawland Kaberuka and Anitha Tuyisenge for assisting and caring for him the past 8 years.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 a.m. Thursday May 16, 2013 at the Monument Park Stake Center, 1320 South Wasatch Boulevard in Salt Lake City.
Viewings will be held on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 from 6:00-8:00 at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City and 10:00-10:45 at the Monument Park Stake Center prior to the funeral service.