Robert Barker was born in Rhode Island in 1927 and died on January 2, 2019. From a very young age, he could be found with pencil and paper, drawing cowboys and horses. At the age of 10, the family lived on a large Wyoming cattle ranch, where the cowboys adopted Barker. He found himself on horseback, working cattle alongside the very heroes he’d drawn earlier in life. Barker attended high school in Virginia and took classes at the Cochran Gallery in Washington, DC. After high school, he joined the US Army during World War II, ‘for the duration,’ before returning to his beloved Wyoming. Barker then attended the University of Wyoming and spent summers working on a local ranch. Because he maintained his military connection through the US Air Force Reserve, he returned to active duty and started pilot training for the Korean War.
After Korea, Barker landed in Kentucky, working as a piping engineer and found Gin, the lady who shared the rest of his life. They returned to Wyoming for a time and after graduation, went to work for various companies in the petrochemical industry. In 1961, the Barkers moved to San Diego, CA, where he started his own company in the Rayne water conditioning business. Barker’s success in that endeavor saw him rise to PWQA President (1970-71) while developing an industry-wide reputation as a highly valued and respected water treatment industry professional. He retired from the industry in 2000, which gave him the opportunity to pursue his artistic bent and build a studio at his El Cajon home, were he created in bronze the horses, cowboy saddles and boots he cherished from his youth. Barker is survived by his wife, Gin, a son and a daughter.


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