Jane Patten Valentine Barker, writer, socialite, and life-long resident of Boulder, died April 23 at Frasier Meadows Manor. She was 89. Jane was awarded the Colorado Author's League Top Hand Award for Mainstream Fiction for Mari, a biographical novel of the life of frontierswoman Mari Sandoz; Historic Homes of Boulder and Historic Homes of Boulder County, preeminent historical records of some of the earliest homes in the Boulder area; and, with Sybil Downing, thirteen Colorado history books for children. She was a freelance historical columnist for the Sunday Focus section of the Boulder Daily Camera, penning "Over the Shoulder" columns for more than 11 years. Jane was awarded the 1979 Colorado Presswomen Woman of Achievement Award. Born May 17, 1930, Jane was the first and only child of John B. and Roberta (Beckwith) Valentine. John B. Valentine, along with his father John W., owned and operated Valentine Hardware on Pearl Street for over 50 years. John's charismatic and deeply caring nature was reflected in Jane; very rarely could either father or daughter enter a Boulder store or attend a local gathering without encountering a friend (usually several). Like her parents before her, Jane attended University Hill School, then Boulder High School. She graduated Boulder High with the class of 1948, and went on to earn her General Education degree and Teaching Certificate from the University of Colorado Boulder in 1952. She was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, and maintained lifelong friends through the group. Jane student taught at Boulder High in Speech and Drama, and later worked with her father at Valentine Hardware as Assistant Bookkeeper. On September 11, 1952, Jane married Richard Thurston Barker in a small ceremony at her parents' home on 13th Street in Boulder. Jane was proud to be a founding member of Women Writing the West, an organization dedicated to the recognition of women and their contribution to the history and culture of the American West. She served on the board of Bank One, and on the board of the Boulder Community Hospital Foundation. She was a lifetime member of First Presbyterian Church, a member of PEO Chapter BY, and the DAR. Jane enjoyed her time with groups such as Boulder Corral of Westerners, Current Events Group, and Third Thursday Group. Jane will always be loved and cherished by those she leaves behind: Richard, her husband of 67 years; sons Richard V. Barker and wife Susan of Johnstown and Bruce T. Barker and wife Keli of Greeley; grandchildren Alyson (Brian) Graffis, Austin (Brooke) Barker, Evan (Bianca) Barker, Adriana Barker and Barret Barker; and great-grandchildren Wyatt and Brynn Graffis. Those wishing to contribute a memorial might consider a donation to Women Writing the West, c/o Allnutt Mortuary, 6521 W. 20th St., Greeley, CO 80634. A celebration of life is planned for a later date.
Published in The Daily Camera on May 16, 2020.