The Barker Funeral Home began with Andrew Franklin "Frank" Wilson in 1900. Mr. Wilson had come to Correctionville, Iowa community in the later 1890's and was engaged with C. Butler in furniture and funeral business. In 1900 he took over the business. At that time undertaking, as it was known, was on one side of the furniture store. This area consisted of display and preparation rooms.
As was the custom in horse and buggy days, when the deceased were prepared and placed in the chosen caskets, they were taken to their respective homes for viewing prior to the funeral. Viewing could be done at church too. This custom continued into the 1930's. A lot of time the wake, as it was known, would last all night.
On June 1, 1910, Frank Wilson married Daisy Barker. Together they operated the Wilson Furniture and Funeral Service. Although Daisy was never licensed, she was an active assistant in the business. Frank passed away November 26, 1932.
Following Mr. Wilson's death, Daisy married Charles W. Hull in 1933. He was a funeral director in California at the time and a friend of the Wilson's. Their private home consisted of the second floor – an apartment – of their house adjacent to the furniture store building. The first floor was rented out as a rooming house for travelers.
In 1933 the Hulls remodeled the first floor into Wilson-Hull Service, which included the chapel and preparations room; however the casket display room remained in the furniture store. As far as can be determined this was the first private home in Iowa to become a funeral home.
In about 1935-1936 they built a three-car garage behind the furniture store with an apartment above.
During World War II, in 1942, the Hulls purchased Hansen Funeral Business in Holstein, Iowa. After operating out of another home in Holstein for a year or so, they purchased the Wollenberg property, which was the home of the president of the Holstein State Bank.
They remodeled the first floor into a funeral home known as the Hansen-Hull Funeral Home, the first funeral home in Holstein, and put an apartment in the second floor. In 1949 they again remodeled the home by enclosing the large front porch including it as part of the interior of the funeral home. At that time, they also added a music room to the north of the chapel.
John Barker, a nephew of Daisy, joined the staff as an apprentice in September, 1948. He graduated from the College of Mortuary Science in St. Louis, Missouri in 1950. After becoming licensed in 1951 he continued working for the Wilson-Hull Funeral Home and Furniture Store. Later, that same year, John and his wife, Jean (Kettering) Barker moved to Holstein where John became a resident manager of the Wilson Hull Funeral Home there.
When Mr. Hull died in the summer of 1954 John and Jean purchased the Holstein business and home from Daisy. John continued to work at the Correctionville Funeral Home and Store.
In 1960 John and Earle Hansen became partners in the business known as Hansen-Barker Funeral Home. Earle died suddenly in 1973. John and Jean purchased his share of the business becoming Barker Funeral Home.
In 1975 the Barkers added an addition to the house, which included a four-car garage, preparation room, casket display room and storage area.
In 1970 the Barkers purchased the Wilson-Hull Home and Business from Daisy when she retired and later changed the name to Barker Funeral Home. Daisy had been active in the business for 60 years. She died in Correctionville Nursing Home June 18, 1974.
At that time the Barkers did a complete modernization of the home and apartment above the second floor in Correctionville.
Karl F. Barker, son of John and Jean Barker graduated from Gupton College of Mortuary Science in Nashville, Tennessee in 1981 and joined the firm. He later began buying stock in the Barker Mortuaries, Inc., which the business became known in 1970.
In 1985 John, Jean and Karl purchased the Jones Funeral Home in Alta, Iowa. Karl moved to Alta in January 1986. John and Jean sold Barker Mortuaries, Inc. and the three funeral homes to Karl in April of 1991 when they retired having served the funeral profession and families in the area for more than 42 years. During the first twenty years they also ran the ambulance business connected to the Holstein and Correctionville Funeral Homes, donating the ambulance to the Holstein and Correctionville Fire Departments when they retired from that business.
Karl owned and operated the three funeral homes plus monument sales from the time he purchased them until he sold them to Nicklas Jensen January 1, 2008. The business has been in the same family for almost a century.