Howard “Bear” Barker February 4, 2024

Barker, Howard “Bear” – of Wiarton, peacefully at Brightshores Health System – Wiarton on Sunday February 4, 2024. Howard Bruce Barker at the age of 88 years. Beloved husband to the late former Irene Hutson (2013). Dear father of Ron and Susan Barker, and Dennis and Judy Barker, all of Howdenvale, and Howie and Wendy Barker, of Hope Bay. Cherished grandfather of Rachelle Barker, Nicole Barker, Amanda Fox (Kory Wilkins), Rebecca Fox (Adam Pettengill), Ashley (Dylan Jackson), Shawna Barker, and Wade Barker; and great-grandfather of Cali, Kiki, and Cayden. Brother-in-law of Patricia White, of Goderich. Friend and companion of Jean Campbell, of Wiarton. Sadly missed by his nieces, nephews, and friends. Predeceased by his parents, Thomas and Elizabeth; brothers, Bob, Nate, and Bud; and sisters, Lucille, Evelyn, and Pauline. Family wish to express their gratitude to the doctors and nursing staff of the Wiarton and Owen Sound hospitals, Care Partners staff, visiting Bruce County Paramedics, and to Tom and Jeff for their exceptional care and compassion. Private family arrangements entrusted to the Thomas C. Whitcroft Funeral Home & Chapel, Sauble Beach (519) 422-0041. Donations to the Owen Sound Animal Shelter, Grey Bruce Animal Shelter, and the R&R Rescue & Resort would be appreciated. Condolences may be expressed online at

Private family arrangements entrusted to the Thomas C. Whitcroft Funeral Home & Chapel, Sauble Beach (519) 422-0041.


  1. REPLY
    Gary and Marg Tambling says

    To the Barker Family.
    We are so sorry to hear of Howard’s passing. He was the nicest person always. He always had a smile and stopped to say hello. Please accept our sympathy at this sad time.
    Gary and Marg Tambling

  2. REPLY
    Paul & Bev Boswell says

    Our deepest condolences at the passing of Howie.

  3. REPLY
    Bill Walker says

    Dear Ron & Susan, Dennis & Judy, Howie & Wendy, and extended family:
    May fond memories of your dad provide you comfort. I always enjoyed my interactions and especially those related to Bluewater Park when I was Recreation Director. Hoping it helps to know friends have you in their thoughts.
    With Condolence,
    Bill Walker

  4. REPLY
    Nancy Middleton says

    To the Barker Family,
    Our sincere sympathy for your loss of a great man big Howie he was loved and always had a smile on his face and a story to tell.

  5. REPLY
    Vicki and Jim Doubt says

    Families of Ron, Dennis and Howie – sorry to hear of the passing of your Dad. Howard was a good neighbour and a colourful character. We loved his sense of humour. Cherish your many wonderful memories. Laugh, cry, reminisce and talk of your Dad. It will be comforting, and gathering together will offer you solace. God Bless you all with peace and comfort.
    Fondly, Vicki and Jim Doubt

  6. REPLY
    Barb Liverance says

    Ron & Susan, Dennis & Judy, Howie & Wendy. We are so sorry to hear of your Dad’s passing. Cherish the good times & memories & he will always be near

  7. REPLY
    Dianne Given says

    Sending hugs to your family ! I have many fond memories of Howie and his sense of humour !

  8. REPLY
    Paul Reynolds says

    Ron, Sue, Dennis, Judy, Howie, Wendy and family, my heartfelt condolences go out to all of you. “Big How” was a special and unique person with a big heart, a smile to match and an infectious laugh. He will be remembered always.
    With sympathy, Paul Reynolds and family.

  9. REPLY
    Shannon & Larry Knott says

    So sorry to hear of your loss. Our condolences to Wendy & Howie and the entire family.

  10. REPLY
    brian hobin says

    To Howard:
    As a social worker
    I knew Howard
    for years
    as a foster father.
    He and Irene were
    masters of their art;
    her caring,
    his raising of children’s
    personal expectations
    for themselves.

    I remember conversations,
    how emotional eddies
    would ripple in his eyes
    bending his face
    in a constant impression
    of impending humour,
    of devilish whimsy,
    followed by redneck demanding words
    that within expressed
    beautiful kindness,
    in his own
    singular manner.

    In quieter moments
    my memory listens,
    seeing him sitting,
    head bent briefly down,
    weighed by reflection,
    fleeting purposes,
    seeking insight for others,
    the creation of
    never ending stories
    within his own family,
    extended by those of his foster children,
    their hopes,
    their moments lost,
    of what was yet to be,
    filtered by a love,
    a desire to protect.

    No need to understand.
    only to perceive him
    as he acted;
    to appreciate with a smile
    his flaws,
    his best intentions,
    his passion,
    his love.
    These moments are now protected
    Irene was always waiting;
    time now as Howard
    catches up to her
    to carry on.
    God bless.

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