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Barker Estes Family Reunion Held at Vanzant

Barker Estes ReunionDescendants of Elizabeth Johnston Barker Estes met May 26, at the Vanzant Community Building in Douglas County. The site of the family homestead is located across the road from where the community building and cemetery lie and is an appropriate place to gather.
The date marked the 134th anniversary of the arrival of the Barker Estes family in 1879. It was a beautiful day to celebrate a reunion and the program was blessed with the participation of talented family members. Herbert Barker, a retired missionary, brought a devotional and his son, Jim, led the group in several hymns. David Barker, the son of the late Noble Gene Barker and Nancy, served as MC.  Sara Coday Hatchett and her husband, Ron provided music that was truly special. Sara is the daughter of the late Merle and Vivian Barker Coday.  The Elliott girls, Verla Nickell, Veta Briscoe and Dottie Sheppard Killough, dressed in costume, performed a skit in the afternoon that had the crowd roaring with laughter.  These ladies have livened up the reunion program with their acting abilities for the past several years and it is always an anticipated event.  Lillian Rico brought gifts for those who came the farthest, the youngest and oldest present. She also assisted with giving out the many door prizes brought by attendees.  As usual, tables were laden with food prepared by country cooks who never heard of a calorie counter. It was gratifying to see so many young families there with beautiful babies and children because if the event is to continue they are the ones to keep it going.  Attendees came from far and wide and were as follows:
Kenny and Linda Rodgers, Tom and Cathrin Rodgers Eckle, Cayucos, Calif.; Bob and Betsy Barker Renner, Vacaville, Calif.; Veta Briscoe, West Plains; Lillian Rico, Blytheville Ark.; Tom and Vivian Alsup, Cabool; Jim Barker, Copperas Cove, Texas; David Barker, Seymour; Sally Prock, Carrie, Ben and Bryce Stewert, Ava; Shane Shepard, Katlyn Watkins, Verla and Cliff Nickell, Benny Lee Rodgers, Ezra Rodgers, Malisha Menifee, all of Vanzant;  Noble “Skeeze” and Inez Barker, Nancy Barker, Tom and Deborah Barker, Kyle and Caleb, Drury; Paul Barker, Tim Barker Sr., Tim Jr and LeAnn, Charity and Josh, Wendy Davis, Springfield; Jan Kelly and son Austin, Norwood; David Barker, Bloomington, Ill.; Jon and Lillian Barker, Jaden and Liam, Cincinnati, Ohio; Ron and Sara Coday Hatchett, Valdosta, Ga.; Herbert and Emma Jean Barker, Ozark; Charles Barker, Knoxville, Tenn.; Tom and Lila Barker, Singapore; David Barker, Montgomery City; Delta Barker Bement, Boulder, Colo.; Doyne and Shirley Elliott, Elizabeth and Roy, Okaloosa, Kan.; Minda Barker, Knoxville; Donna Rodgers and friend, Mark, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Dale and Rhonda Rodgers, Randy and Micki Emery, Jerry and Rita Barker, Richard and Wanda Barker, H.L. “Dock” and Mary Ann Frazee, all of Mountain Grove. There were others who came by later in the afternoon that did not register and we are sorry if their names were left off the list.
The Barker Estes Reunion committee wishes to commend the board and people who keep up the Vanzant Community Building. There have been many improvements made since the last reunion which enhances the pleasure of meeting there.  The cemetery is also very beautiful, and kept that way by descendants of Elizabeth Johnston Barker Estes and others who revere the burial place of their ancestors and family members.