Longtime LightHouse volunteer, program participant, employee and entertainer Bill Barker has passed away. At LightHouse he taught braille in English and Spanish, gave piano lessons and started a community choir. Bill, who was in his mid-seventies, had been involved with the LightHouse and Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind for five decades.
In the 1960s, Bill became the first blind counselor at Enchanted Hills. Over the years he also attended as a volunteer and a camper. Bill was instrumental in bringing music, games, radio broadcasting, storytelling and enthusiasm to camp. His band, “Bush St. Blues,” played for numerous Adult and Adults with Special Needs Sessions over the years. “Bush St. Blues” also played numerous gigs throughout the East Bay, San Francisco, and of course, at the LightHouse.
LightHouse’s Greg Kehret said, “I first met Bill in 2000 when Broadcast Services for the Blind (BSB) was a robust program. Since the mid-80’s he had been a regular volunteer, showing up every week as the host of Bill Barker’s Braille Radio Reading Room. He was known to describe the radio show as ‘A program for those of us who are totally blind or blessed with partial vision, but find braille best and easiest to use. For those of you who are homebound I sincerely hope our program brightens your day…’”
Bill was a graduate of the University of the Pacific. In addition to the LightHouse, Bill taught braille at OCB. He was a serious sports fan, devotedly following the A’s and Giants, as well as Cal football and basketball. He volunteered at Handicapables and as a teacher at a school for the blind in Colima, Mexico.
As a friend and a supporter to many, Bill Barker will be missed.
Bill Barker’s funeral service:
Saturday, May 17th, 2 p.m.
St. Ambrose Church
1145 Gillman St, Berkeley.