Taught adults lit­er­acy skills after rais­ing fam­ily

El­iz­a­beth( Lilli) Barker 1929-2020

The Irish Times - - Obituaries - PATSY McGARRY

Lilli Barker taught adults lit­er­acy skills un­til she was nearly 80 and also re­mained an avid ten­nis player, play­ing four or five times a week with neigh­bours. It was in her late 50s when, hav­ing reared her five daugh­ters, she be­gan work­ing out­side the home. Then she spent years at the EBS head of­fice in Dublin work­ing as a cleaner and in the can­teen.

It was while there she be­gan teach­ing lit­er­acy skills to adults at the Larkin Cen­tre on Dublin’s North Strand.

One of eight chil­dren, two of whom died in in­fancy, she was born in 1929 at Dublin’s Marino but in her early years lived on the North Strand, then Crum­lin and White­hall, be­fore she and Stephen

Barker mar­ried in 1957 and set­tled in Santry. Times were hard when she was a child but she re­mem­bered them fondly and used to say there was al­ways laugh­ter, a trait she her­self car­ried to the end.

She loved be­ing mar­ried and a mother, and would re­call how, when younger, she and a friend used say that if they could get mar­ried they would tie bows around the sausages for their hus­bands. The first 30 years of her mar­riage were spent at home rais­ing the five girls, mak­ing their clothes, tak­ing them to school, bak­ing, cook­ing, clean­ing.

Lilli seemed to be for­ever wall­pa­per­ing, paint­ing and mak­ing cur­tains. She was a re­mark­able seam­stress, mak­ing all the girls’ clothes, even wed­ding dresses. Her sew­ing ma­chine seemed for­ever on the go, once the din­ner was cleared away.

The girls were among her best friends, no doubt helped by a shared zest for life, travel, mu­sic and dance. She and they were even known to dance in the kitchen on Sun­day morn­ings to the Lambeth Walk.

In her mid 80s Lilli Barker de­vel­oped de­men­tia and spent her lat­ter years in a nurs­ing home. To­wards the end of March last she be­came ill with Covid-19 and died on April 7th. She is sur­vived by daugh­ters Lor­raine, Sharon, Ali, Ruth and Wendy, as well as grand­chil­dren, great­grand­chil­dren and the wider fam­ily.


She was a re­mark­able seam­stress, mak­ing all the girls’ clothes, even wed­ding dresses

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