Helen M. Barkley, 99, of Parsons passed away at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, 2019, at Parsons Presbyterian Manor.
Helen was born on Aug. 27, 1920, in the small northeast Missouri farming community of Brashear to Everett and Coral Clark Hunt. She graduated from Brashear High School and she has proudly noted to her children and grandchildren that she played on the school’s championship girls basketball team.
After high school, Helen attended Northeast Missouri State College (now Truman State) and earned a teaching certificate. She married Clarence E. Barkley of Brashear in 1939 and she and Clarence taught in rural schools in northeast Missouri and southern Iowa. In 1941, they moved to Kansas City and Helen became a radio operator for Trans World Airlines during World War II. The following years Helen and Clarence had four children and she remained home to manage the growing family.
In 1956, the Barkley family moved from Kansas City to the nearby city of Liberty, Missouri. She made the Liberty home a welcoming place for extended family during the holidays and the friends of her children whenever they would visit. While in Liberty, beginning in 1958, Helen taught at the two-room elementary school in the rural village of Mosby, Missouri, and later in Holt, Missouri. Helen continued her education at William Jewell College, and she received her bachelor’s degree in education in 1969. She next took a teaching position at Alexander Doniphan Elementary School in Liberty, where she taught for 10 years (fifth grade was her favorite).
Helen retired from teaching in 1979, and she and Clarence enjoyed tennis, golf and traveling in retirement years together. After the death of her beloved husband, Helen moved to Parsons in 1991 to be near her youngest daughter, Susan. In Parsons, Helen was active in school volunteer programs, a local women’s investment club, PEO Chapter BS, the Parsons United Methodist Church and the bridge club at the senior center. She also spent much of her retirement time watching her grandchildren in their numerous youth and high school activities.
Family was important to Helen and she participated in all of the major family activities (weddings, holiday gatherings and beach reunions) until she was 98 years old. Helen’s children and grandchildren were very fortunate to have her in their lives for so many years.
Helen is survived by her four children, Sharon Foster of Litchfield Beach, South Carolina, David (Bitsy) Barkley of Clemson, South Carolina, Marsha (Mike) Davey of Macomb, Illinois, and Susan (John) Simmons of Parsons; her grandchildren, John Simko, Leslie Currle, Matthew Barkley, Laura Barkley, Jay Davey, Garrett Davey, Nathan Simmons, Drew Simmons, Anne Simmons; nine great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Clarence Barkley; her three brothers, Wayne Hunt, Darrell Hunt and Merrill Hunt; and her son-in-law, Jerry Foster.
A celebration of life service will be at a later date at Liberty United Methodist Church in Liberty, Missouri.
Memorials are suggested to the PEO Chapter BS Cottey College Scholarship Fund and these may be left at or mailed to the Carson-Wall Funeral Home, 112 N. 26th, P.O. Box 942, Parsons, KS, 67357.
Online condolences may be left at www.wallfuneralservices.com.