Sandra Sue (Shepard) Barker, age 85, of Ionia, passed away peacefully just after noon on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, at Green Acres Assisted Living Center in Ionia, with family members at her bedside. She was born on September 8, 1937, daughter of Forest Harold and Lillian Elizabeth (Barnes) Shepard, both of whom preceded her in death. She attended Traverse City and Ionia Schools and worked for many years as a Nurses Aid at Ionia County Memorial Hospital. Many will remember her as the kind lady who rocked the newborns in the maternity ward so that new mothers could have a little break and know that their babies were well cared for. Sandra exchanged vows with Marvin Sylvester Barker when they eloped to Indiana, and she enjoyed 65 years of marriage with him prior to his death in 2021. On the way home from their wedding trip, Sandra was surprised that Marvin decided to harvest a pheasant out of a nearby field to cook for dinner on their first night at home as a family. She was an avid reader and amassed a huge collection of books through the years. Sandra attended SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Ionia and enjoyed watching the gospel music groups that her husband sang with, the Maple River Strummers, and the Country Folks. She also joined in and played and sang with the groups on occasion.
Sandra leaves her dear children to cherish her memory, including Karen (Mike) Towersy of Ionia, Mark Barker of Muir, Carol Roberts of Ionia, and Mike (Jeni) Barker of Belding; Phil (Sue) King of Cave Creek, AZ, Debbie (Bill) Wilson of Glendale, AZ; grandchildren Marcus, Tina, George, Brenton, Mike, Tyler, Jessica Matt, Nathan, Lisa, Mark, Kevin, Danny, and David; several great-grandchildren; siblings, Ray (Debbie) Fletcher of Houghton Lake, Joyce (Roger) Berg of Colorado, and John (Nancy) Gipson of Oklahoma; and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. In addition to her parents and husband, she was preceded in death by four siblings, Eleanor, Karen, Millie and Barb; and a daughter-in-law, Vickie Barker.
Cremation Rites are being accorded, and a Graveside Service will take place at a future date at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Ionia. For additional information, please contact Verdun Family Funeral Home in Belding at (616) 794-1300 or www.verdunfh.com.