|Birth: ||Jul. 9, 1910|
|Death: ||Dec. 5, 1977|
Van Buren County
Kalamazoo Gazette, Dec. 7, 1977
Lawrence Area Woman Killed By Large Sheep
A Lawrence woman found dead in the barnyard of the family farm here Monday night was killed when butted or stepped on by a large sheep, according to Van Buren County Sheriff's deputies.
Lt. Donald Hogmire said Mrs. Ruth Barker, 67, Route 1, 64th Avenue, died from internal bleeding, according to an autopsy conducted by Dr. Daniel Glaser of Kalamazoo. She also had suffered broken ribs.
Mrs. Barker was apparently attacked by the ram when she went to burn some papers in a barrel inside the fence where the large 200-250 pound animal was kept, Hogmire said.
Deputies said her husband, Lynn Barker, had left the farm about 10:45 a.m. Monday to take a load of hogs to Hopkins for sale. He returned shortly before 8 p.m. and called his son-in-law, Charles Gross of Lawrence when he was unable to find his wife.
Deputies said Gross found Mrs. Barker's body laying against the fence which had been broken.
Barker told deputies he and his wife had used a rubber hose previously to fend off the ram which was described by Undersheriff Myron Southworth as mean. Footprints of the ram and several pieces of the rubber hose were found near the body, police said.
Hogmire said relatives of Mrs. Barker told him she had suffered from heart trouble in the past, but Dr. Glaser did not feel it was a contributing cause in her death.
Hogmire said he did not know whether the ram would be destroyed.
Funeral services for Mrs. Barker will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Lawrence United Methodist Church. Burial will be in the family lot at Hill Cemetery, Lawrence. Friends may call at Sisson Funeral Home, Lawrence.
Kalamazoo Gazette, Dec. 8, 1977
Body Found In Pen
Area Woman's Death Blamed On Sheep
An autopsy shows that a 67-year old Lawrence woman died Monday from injuries she received from being butted or stepped upon by a large sheep.
Mrs. Ruth Barker died from internal bleeding after being attacked by the animal at her farm, which is located near the intersection of 64th Avenue and 50th Street. The Van Buren County Sheriff's Department said the woman also received broken ribs.
The sheriff's department pinned the blame for Mrs. Barker's death on a two-year-old ram, based on reports from the victim's husband that the ram was "frisky."
But the victim's husband, Lynn Barker, said another sheep, a large ewe, may have attacked his wife. Funeral services for Mrs. Barker were set for today.
Mrs. Barker was apparently attacked when she entered the fenced-in ram pen area to burn some papers in an incinerator barrel, according to police. Her husband and son-in-law found her body Monday night when Barker returned home from delivering a load of hogs to Hopkins.
The victim was found with a piece of garden hose in her hand, the sheriff's department said. Barker said he had told his wife to carry the hose to frighten the sheep with it if they came too close. Mrs. Barker was used to handling sheep, he said.
"I warned her to keep something in her hand," he said this morning. "You never know. They can be just as quiet and as calm as can be, then come up behind you and knock you over. I had a ram once that was so mean I had to carry a hammer in there with me. This one, though, we'd just show him the hose and he'd back off. But you just can't trust them."
Barker said he suspects the two-year-old ram or a big ewe could have been the attackers. He said that sheep's behavior is unpredictable at this time of year because they are breeding. He keeps seven sheep in the pen, he said. The semi-retired farmer said he plans to get rid of the ram, which Barker estimated weighs between 250 and 300 pounds. But he says he's not sure the attack was unprovoked.
"I'm not afraid of him. I just don't want anyone getting hurt," he said. "I wouldn't keep a thing that was ugly. I think something else may have happened before the sheep trampled her."
Funeral services for Mrs. Barker were scheduled for 2 p.m. today at the Lawrence United Methodist Church. Interment was to be in Hill Cemetery.
In addition to her husband, Mrs. Barker is survived by her son, Irwin of Lawton; a daughter, Mrs. Charles (Marilynn) Goss of Lawrence; two brothers, Kenneth Dobson of Seattle, Wash., and Lawrence Dobson of Otsego; three sisters, Faye Hogue of Hartford, Esther Heffner of Covert and Pauline Rathburn of Allegan; nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Lynn I. Barker (1912 - 1987)
Marilyn Ruth Barker Goss (1934 - 2006)*
Carolyn Anne Barker (1939 - 1939)*
Van Buren County
Created by: K. Clinard
Record added: May 29, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 52983411
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