Mary E. Barker, age 91, died on Thursday, June 29, 2017, in Fayetteville, NY, surrounded by family. Mary was born on September 21, 1925, to John J. Patzke and Anna E. (Male) Patzke in Syracuse, NY. She was raised on the Northside of Syracuse and married her beloved Leonard M. Barker of Lincoln, Nebraska, on June 21, 1947, at Assumption Church. Together they raised five children in a home they built in DeWitt, NY, a home where Mary lived for almost 60 years before moving last year to a retirement community in Fayetteville.
Mary was the quintessential mother, dedicated to her family beyond words. She loved each of her children intensely, welcomed their spouses as her own, and doted on her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She cared about their interests, shared in their joys, and was proud of each and every one of them. Christmas gatherings at her house often saw more than 50 immediate family members gathering from near and far to celebrate the holidays—and no one wanted to miss the party. Thanks in part to Mary’s love of family, the August family picnic with the Barker, Sellin, and Patzke cousins has been held each year without fail since 1978.
Mary enjoyed dancing, and when their children were young, Mary and her husband Len would host and go to dance parties at their neighbors’ houses in North Syracuse. Later, they were members of the Starlight Dance Club, and always they would dance together in the living room.
Mary was playful with her children and often had a Scrabble board or Yahtzee game set up for challenges for when her kids walked home from Jamesville-DeWitt High School. Although the games were supposedly played for “money,” she never bothered to collect the thousands they owed her!
Mary loved to shop and she dressed impeccably. She also had the uncanny gift of being able to shop for her many family members and to capture each person's particular style, and it was fun to see her try on a men's suit jacket in a store--an intended gift for a son or grandson--and judge by how it didn't fit her to get the fit just right for the other person.
Mary's infectious smile, her fun-loving nature, her devoted spirit, and her deep inner strength to carry on during adversity are all part of the legacy she has passed on to her descendants.
Mary is predeceased by her husband Len, her parents John and Anna, and her brother John J. Patzke. She is survived by her sister Jeanette (Patzke) Sellin, her two sons David J. Barker of Cazenovia and Martin J. (Carol) Barker of Las Vegas, NV, and her three daughters Katherine M. (Federico) Meira of Cazenovia, Patricia B. (John) von Reyn of Manassas, VA, and Margaret E. (Ira) Rosenheck of Owego, NY. She is also survived by 14 grandchildren: Kevin and Adam Barker; Mike, Steve, Mark Lesinski, and Julie (Lesinski) Wright; Jake von Reyn, Anna von Reyn, and Betsy (von Reyn) Scancella; Jen (Barker) Stone and Jeff Barker; Meghan (Rosenheck) Schwartz, Kerrie (Rosenheck) Masone, and Scott Rosenheck; and by 16 great-grandchildren, numerous step-grandchildren, step-great-grandchildren, cousins, nieces, and nephews, and countless friends.
Calling hours are 2:00 to 5:00 pm Sunday, July 2nd, at Fairchild & Meech DeWitt Chapel, 3690 Erie Blvd E, DeWitt, NY, 13214. Funeral Mass will be Monday at 10 am at Holy Cross Catholic Church, 4112 E. Genesee St, DeWitt, NY, 13214, followed by burial at St. Mary's Cemetery, 4100 E. Genesee St, DeWitt, NY, 13214.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Mary E. Barker's name to the CNY Community Foundation for the "Msgr. Yeazel Catholic Education Endowment Fund", 431 E. Fayette Street, Suite 100, Syracuse, NY, 13202, or by credit card online at www.cnycf.org/Yeazel.