Obituary: Melwyn Mary Marionneaux Barker - Red Jacket - April 18, 2018
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Published in the The Advertiser & Daily World on Mar. 30, 2018
Obituary Melwyn Marionneaux Barker
June 11, 1930 - April 18, 2018
Melwyn M. Barker passed away on April 18, 2018 with her children at her side. “Gram”, as she was affectionately known, to grandchildren and beyond, was born on June 11, 1930 to the late Walter Marionneaux, Jr. and Sylvie Patureau Marionneaux. She was the eldest of eight children. In 1953 she married William Edward Barker, III and became mother to seven children. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and a treasured teacher and friend to so many in the community.
She is survived by her seven children and their spouses, Melwyn Barker Wendt and David, William “Bill” E. Barker IV, Walter M. Barker and Lynette, Nancy Barker Gunn and Jim, John Barker and Therese, Elizabeth “Bunny” Barker Britt, Kathryn Barker LeBlanc and Jerry Luke; seventeen grandchildren, David III and Mary Kathryn Wendt, Kristen Barker Blanchard, Kayla, Sarah, Hannah and William Barker V., Lacey and Walter Barker, Jr., Emelie Barker and Richard Randolph Gunn, John Jr., James and Jude Barker, Jacqueline Barker Savoia, Emma Klaire and Ellie Kate LeBlanc; eleven great-grandchildren, brothers Harry, Rhett and Howard Marionneaux, sisters Winona Marionneaux Boudreaux and Maxine Marionneaux, and caring nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents, her loving husband, of 61 years, grandson, Joshua O’Thane Barker, sister, Patricia “Pie” Nelson, and brothers Walter Wayne and Robert Mark Marionneaux.
Melwyn Barker received her early education at Crescent School, nestled along Bayou Plaquemine, where she was taught by a long line of educators in the Marionneaux and Patureau families. She graduated valedictorian at age 16 from Plaquemine High School. To honor the sugar industry with royalty, the sugar producing parishes named Melwyn Louisiana Sugar Queen in 1945. In 1946 she entered Southwestern Louisiana Institute, in Lafayette, Louisiana receiving her B.S. degree in Mathematics and minor in History in 1950 and graduated as the “Outstanding Graduate with High Distinction”. While at Southwestern, she belonged to Phi Delta Epsilon sorority, was the Corresponding Secretary of the Vermilion Honor Society, a member of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and president of the Red Jacket Marching Squad. She returned to Plaquemine to begin her teaching career at Plaquemine High School. Once her family began to grow, she became an active mom and homemaker. Even though she had her hands full with seven children, she never was far from Will’s side. You would often find Melwyn working alongside him at their established family business, Barker’s Pharmacy, one of the oldest pharmacies in the state.
Melwyn took a broad interest in religious, civic and social activities. She was christened at St. Ann’s Chapel and was a devout Catholic, worshiping at her parish of St. John the Evangelist. She helped instill catholic values to third graders as a volunteer Catechism teacher for more than 20 years, and started every Saturday morning with committed visitation at the adoration chapel. Her religious affiliations also included Catholic Daughters. Melwyn was a past president of the Plaquemine Service League and an active member of the Plaquemine Garden Club. Her interest in history fostered her affiliation with the Daughters of the American Revolution and enhanced her world travels. Mel truly enjoyed playing a good game of bridge with the ladies of her highly coveted bridge club. She treasured her childhood and often told stories of growing up in the country. She was loving, patient, kind, and steadfast. She instilled graciousness and compassion in each of her children and insisted on a job well done. Her welcoming smile was the personification of her optimistic attitude and the love of a mother’s heart.
Melwyn Barker was an accomplished reader, an avid gardener, a world traveler, and believed that her house was not a home without eloquently arranged fresh flowers from her garden.
Visitation will be at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Plaquemine on Monday, April 23, from 9am until Mass of Christian Burial at 11am, celebrated by Rev. Jason Palermo, interment in Grace Memorial Park. Pallbearers will be her grandsons.
Source: Wilbert Funeral Home, Plaquemine, La. April 21, 2018
Information provided by Corinne Randazzo and Betty Lowry, Red Jackets.