Barbara Jean Walker
'The joy of the Lord was her strength'
Barbara Jean Walker, of Linden, N.J., quietly transitioned from Earth to glory on Thursday, July 23, 2020. She spent her final days in Virginia, battling to recover from a stroke, side-by-side with her devoted husband Jesse and loving family.
Throughout her life, the joy of the Lord was her strength, and her light shined with unconditional love toward everyone who entered her presence.
Barbara was born Oct. 8, 1945 in Elizabeth, N.J., to the late Dolores and Richard Cashwell Sr. She was the first born of 11 children and raised with strong Christian values as she excelled through the Elizabeth Public Schools. In her youth she was proudly selected to represent her high school at Sarah Lawrence College and she also served as a hospital volunteer.
In the summer of 1963, she met Jesse Lee Walker Sr. When he returned home from the Army in 1967, the pair finally got the chance to go on a long-awaited movie date.
After her mother passed, in 1968, Barbara selflessly left a successful banking career and helped to raise her 10 siblings. She instilled in them a love of Christ, a strong work ethic, and a devotion to family that they continue to share with their children.
Barbara and Jesse were married on Aug. 30, 1969. They moved to Linden and had eight children, 17 grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and more than 50 years of beautiful memories. She always said "count your blessings," and Barbara surely had many.
"Mama," as Barbara was lovingly known, was cherished by not only her eight children but also the many family, friends and community members who knew her well. She never had an unkind thing to say. She was the type of person to help anyone in need: from a stranded person looking for a ride, to a perfect stranger in need of a good word.
Barbara lived a full life devoted to raising her family and assisting others. In the 1990s, she served as the interim director of Born Again Church of God in Christ Daycare (Linden), where she again shared her nurturing spirit with the children in her care.
Barbara loved cooking, reading the newspaper, watching the N.Y. Yankees, and spending time with her family. She had an impeccable sense of style and enjoyed shopping with her daughters and decorating her home.
Barbara was the golden thread that knit her family together. Heart-to-heart, she seamlessly connected loved ones over many generations. She will be deeply missed, yet her legacy will live on through her many good deeds.
Barbara will be mourned by her loving husband, Jesse Lee Walker Sr., their eight adoring children, beloved grandchildren, devoted siblings, and other special loved ones on Wednesday, Aug. 5 at a private service followed by a visit to Rosehill Cemetery where she will Rest In Peace.
Published in The Star-Ledger on Aug. 2, 2020.