Don Barker
Photographer, fisherman and local historian and friend


Donald E. Barker, 8-27-1933 - 2-12-2016

This is the way I remember Don. He was a true friend and was at the house for both friendship and for nothing at all.
Together, we put together the Conover web site, one picture and one one story at a time. For the past 23 years, we
created the only on-line story and history of the of the city of Conover. This will forever be "Don's Page."

CONOVER - Donald E. Barker, 82, passed away at his home in Conover, Feb. 12, 2016.

An accomplished historian, he was the author of "Big Time for a Dime A History of Local Theaters," and "For the Love of the Game - an Illustrated History of the Newton-Conover Twins Baseball Team." His greatest work was an illustrated history, "Images of America: Conover," the twentieth century story of Conover that will be an inspiration for generations history otherwise lost.

An expert photographer and collector of important images, his works hang at Conover City Hall and Conover Station. Don was awarded prestigious prizes for his photographs of New York City landmarks. He was an accomplished musician with his own band and was an expert dancer, known for ending up with the prettiest girl on the floor, from Fallston to Granite Falls and well beyond.

Like many boys of his age during World War II, Don fell in love with airplanes. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he served as an OPS personnel assistant to the Commander at a west Texas air base. Don took great pleasure in telling what a soft assignment that turned out to be, "I had it made!" Don took no pleasure in telling about his dumbest decision when his mother told him his dad left money for his college education and he used the money for something else and had a lifetime of regret. An aficionado of World War II Army Air Corp history, Don was the Operations Agent for several airlines, among them Piedmont Airlines in Hickory, National Airlines, out of Idlewild Airport in New York, and Lake Central Airlines, out of Toledo, Ohio, and served as Line Chief at Cannon Aviation in Hickory.

He was dedicated to serving Concordia Lutheran Church, with particular interest in helping the youth. They reciprocated by remembering him every year on his birthday by decorating his yard with pink flamingos. Don was an enthusiastic sponsor of a young man in "Bugles Across America."

He believed in hell and his friends reported on no occasion has he hurt anyone. He trusted in heaven and realized Christ as the most important thing of world history.

Born Aug. 27, 1933, in Catawba County, Don was preceded in death by his parents, William James and Lula Brady Barker. He is survived by his cousins, Ann Brady Holt, Doug Brady of Conover, Evelyn Brady Caldwell, Laura Travis Perry, Janice Brady Langston, Donna Brady Smith, Sharon Massi Branch and Derick S. Hartshorn, a close personal friend.

A memorial service will be held at Concordia Lutheran Church in Conover, Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m. The Rev. Mark Schudde and Vicar Jim Kent will officiate. The family will receive friends in the Emmaus Room following the service. A private inurnment will be at the Conover City Cemetery at a later date.

Condolences may be sent to the Barker family at In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to Concordia Lutheran Church, 216 Fifth Ave. SE, Conover, NC, 28613. The Barker family has entrusted funeral arrangements to Drum Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Conover.

Very few Conover citizens are not familiar with Don Barker.
A lifelong Conover resident and son of William J. and Lula Brady Barker,
Don is constantly researching and documenting the little known aspects
of our historic past. His latest projects have focused on our local
movie theaters
and the semi-pro baseball teams of Catawba County.
And now, he has published a fascinating book on the  City of Conover.

Don Barker, age 5, in front of the home he still lives in.


Don was the Operations Agent for several airlines, among them Piedmont Airlines in Hickory, National Airlines, out of Idlewild Airport in New York and Lake Central Airlines, out of Toledo, Ohio. He served as Line Chief at Cannon Aviation in Hickory, NC. Don was an avid aviation buff, serving in the US Air Force and also being an accomplished photographer, like his father.



Don's US Air Force service and his love of flight have been forever intertwined.

Don's neighbors marvel over his love of cats, especially Tiny.

But there was another, more beloved cat. Her name was Kitty.


"There's room on my horse for two"


Don has enthusiastically supported Bugles Across America.

Jarett Story, member of Bugles Across America with mayor Lee Moritz
 and members of the Conover City Council during award ceremony

Bugles Across America (BAA) was founded in 2000 as a result of P.L. 106-65 that states that every qualified veteran has a right to Military Funeral Honors. As a minimum, this calls for two people to fold and present the flag and to provide a sounding of Taps.  A shortage of available military buglers was then addressed by allowing this sounding of Taps to be done by way of a recording.  With this in mind, Bugles Across America was formed to provide live buglers to fill this need.

For his support, he was awarded this certificate.


His photographic talent can be seen in his display of the beauty
of springtime in Conover
and his award winning photographs (below).

"Broadway" "Freedom's Doorway"


"Christian Radich-Salute to Liberty"

"Press Courtesy Flight-1986"

Don's father, William J. Barker, was an accomplished photographer.
Some of William J. Barker's photography
 accomplishments may be viewed here:

Algiers: The Right Bank

The NCGWP Conover web site is grateful to Don for the many photos he has supplied, not just to this web site but to the City of Conover. Visitors to the Conover city hall may view dozens of these beautiful pictoral treasures of the past when walking through the foyer.

All photos courtesy of Don Barker

2016 By accessing this site, you hereby agree that any data posted is copyrighted by the NCGenWeb, the respective county host and/or individual contributors. Nothing contained herein is to be used for other than personal research and is not to be reposted, captured or cached on another server without the express written consent of the contributor.

Derick S. Hartshorn - 2016 to present
Last Modified: