Loren Joe Barker’s “cheerful and happy personality radiated far, and his companionship was sought after and cherished by young and old alike,” his obituary said.
Mr. Barker was born Aug. 23, 1921, to Joe M. Barker, a farmer, and Iva Keck Barker, a homemaker, near Keosauqua in southeast Iowa, population 1,040. He spent his life there until he enlisted in the Navy in March 1940. He was a coxswain and petty officer third class on the U.S.S. Arizona when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.
He was survived by his widow, Susan Elizabeth Tharp Barker, who was also from Keosauqua. His mother witnessed their marriage in late May 1940 in Monticello, Missouri about 50 miles south, but otherwise their union was not made public until after he died.
A memorial service was held at the Methodist church in Keosauqua on Dec. 28, 1941, with his 1938 high school graduating class attending as a group. Members of the American Legion also participated and “Taps” was played.
Sources: Van Buren County (Iowa) Genealogical Society; Burlington (Iowa) Hawk-Eye Gazette; Census; Navy muster roll; Missouri marriage license; grave marker. Navy photo. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.