Mary Giambrone Barker, known for her charitable work, dies

Mary Giambrone Barker, 89, of Somerdale, an active parishioner at Our Lady of Grace Parish for over 50 years, and involved in various South Jersey charities, died Wednesday, Nov. 3, at home.

Mrs. Barker married her husband William (Bill) Barker in March 1946. After their five children were all in school in the late 1960s, she resumed her nursing career, working at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia until her retirement.

She was active at Our Lady of Grace, Somerdale, where she served as a lector and as a member of the Altar and Rosary Society for more than 50 years. Mrs. Barker served as president of the Ladies of Charity of the Camden Diocese, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Her children fondly remember she would frequently ask/demand that they accompany her to deliver food and other household goods to families in need on behalf of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

Mrs. Barker celebrated her Italian ancestry through her membership in Circolo Italiano, a social club that promotes Italian culture in Haddon Heights. A lover of opera, she held season tickets to the Philadelphia Opera Company, and could play the piano by ear.

Father James Durkin, who knew Mrs. Barker for over 30 years, beginning when he was a weekend associate at Our Lady of Grace in the 1970s and continuing when he was director of the Ladies of Charity, from 1977-2006, recalled a “very apostolic woman, with a strong, deep faith.”

“She was so enthusiastic about reaching out to the poor, and needy,” he recalled.

Mrs. Barker was predeceased by her husband of 59 years, Bill. She is survived by her five children, Eileen Coladonato of Cherry Hill; William Jr. (Anne) of St. Davids, Pa.; David (Eileen) of Phoenix, Ariz.; and Paul (Tina) and Thomas (Jeanne), both of Media, Pa. She is also survived by her sister Josephine, 19 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.

A funeral Mass was celebrated on Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Lindenwold. Interment was at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Berlin.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society 901 E. Luzerne St., Philadelphia, PA 19124, Attn: Central Council.

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