The Barker side of my family gather in odd numbered years. According to my records, and I keep very good records, my grandparents, Ray Barker and Ruth Lloyd Barker, have 47 descendants so far. Of the 47, 43 are still alive and 30 attended the 2017 reunion.
As part of the festivities we visited Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana, where Ray & Ruth are buried. We also admired a beautiful new stone erected by my cousins for their parents and I led a successful search for five other graves spanning three generations of more distant ancestors.
Park Cemetery is also the final resting place of the actor James Dean who died tragically young in 1955 at the age of 24. One of my uncles was friends with Dean when they were teenagers and Dean was living with his Quaker aunt and uncle on their farm just outside town. I’d always wondered if we were related to James Dean and I finally found the connection. James Dean is my sixth cousin twice removed.
That’s not entirely true. Dean was living with his uncle Marcus Winslow and aunt Ortense Dean Winslow so the relation is through marriage, not blood but since they were surrogate parents during his formative years, I’ll still claim him.