Cover photo for Leopoldine Barker's Obituary
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Leopoldine Barker

June 27, 1925 — March 30, 2023

Kerrville

Leopoldine Barker

 

Leopoldine “Leo” Sedlacek Barker passed away on March 30, 2023, in the home she loved and refused to leave, in Kerrville, Texas. She was 97 years old. At her request, a private family service will be held at a later date.

Leo Barker was described by everyone who knew her as “a strong woman.” She was born in the Bohemian region of Czechoslovakia. World War II shaped her formative years as she saw family members go off to war and not return, go to prison for not going to war, and lose their homes and properties after the war. Leo spoke German, English, Czech, and Russian, so it’s no surprise that she served as a translator for the US Army after the Americans liberated Prague.

She escaped to Germany with help from the Americans, just days before the Russian occupation, by hiding in the trunk of an Army chaplain’s car. She continued to work as a translator for the US Army after reaching Germany. That was when she met a handsome Warrant Officer named Wilburn “Nick” Barker, while working with him to translate the diary of a Russian double agent. They married in 1948 and left for Leo’s new home in the US.

After several transfers, they eventually arrived in Nick’s native state of Texas, where they bought a home in San Antonio. Leo adjusted to her new country while Nick left for Korea. While he was gone, she worked at Joske’s Department Store where she sold handbags and also did some modeling. During this time, Leo was able to arrange for her mother, Rosa, to come to the US from Germany, where she had been living in a refugee camp. Rosa lived with Leo and Nick until she died in 1985.

After Nick returned from Korea, Leo and Nick were transferred to Colorado Springs, where Jennie was born, and then to Frankfurt, Germany for five years, where their second daughter, Cheryl Rose, was born. Nick was then transferred to Monterrey, California in preparation for an assignment in Viet Nam, where he served as an early “advisor.” Leo bought a home in Seaside, California, while she waited for Nick to return.

After Nick’s retirement from the Army in 1964, he continued to work for the government. Leo and her little family followed Nick to Southern California, where Claire was born, and, finally, to Salt Lake City, Utah. After his retirement from Civil Service in 1977, Nick and Leo decided it was time to go home to Texas.  They settled in Kerrville and, when Nick died in 1986, Leo and Claire stayed.

Leo said she was tired of moving and she set down roots in the Texas Hill Country. She planted and landscaped a beautiful garden in an area where it is hard to make things grow. She was a determined advocate for Claire and helped start the Opportunity Center, where Claire was a client for many years. Leo and Claire were always seen together at the Methodist Encampment Retreat Center where Claire worked, and at area nurseries, where Leo purchased plants for her beloved garden. In addition to gardening, Leo loved reading and cooking, gifts she passed on to her children and grandchildren.

In March 2017, Leo fell while planting impatiens in her flowerbeds and became wheelchair bound. After years of caring for Claire, Claire now became Leo’s caregiver. Leo’s greatest desire was to be able to stay with Claire in the home she loved. That gift was made possible thanks to Claire’s selfless and courageous service, the help of dedicated caregivers, and the amazing staff and volunteers at Peterson Hospice.

Leo left a legacy of fierce independence. She was a survivor and is now survived by her children Jennie Barker Robinson (Michael) of Huntsville, AL, Cheryl Rose Barker of Sacramento, CA, and her amazing caregiver, Claire. Leo was very proud of her grandchildren Alexis Robinson Austin (Steve) of Huntsville AL, Cassandra Robinson of Huntsville AL, Christina Robinson Morris (Douglas) of Mesa AZ, Cyndie Robinson Johnson (Brandon) of Tucson AZ, and John Robinson of Chattanooga TN. She was also thrilled to have three great grandchildren and one more due in May. 

Leo’s family expresses very sincere appreciation to Peterson Hospital and Peterson Hospice for many years of exceptional care. Leo loved her Hospice volunteers (Dorothy, Marion, and Nikki) and her Hospice nurses (Rick, Allison, Pam, and Diane). But her greatest joy was being able to speak her native German in the last weeks of her life with Nurse Sam.

Auf Wiedersehn, liebe Leo.

Donations in memory of Leo may be made to Peterson Hospice through the Peterson Health Foundation www.petersonhealth.com

Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of the professionals at Kerrville Funeral Home

(830)895-5111

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leopoldine Barker, please visit our flower store.

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