CHARLES OMAR BARKER
Bending his energies to administrative direction and executive control, C. O. Barker is wisely guiding the destiny of San Gorgonio Building-Loan Association and in fostering the growth of the business he has made substantial contribution to Banning’s development and improvement. He was born in Fulton County, Illinois, July 4, 1858, a son of Charles and Frances (Phillips) Barker, the former born near Oswego, New York, and the latter a native of that city. The father devoted his active life to agricultural pursuits and both he and the mother have passed away. They were the parents of three children, of whom two are deceased.
C. O. Barker, the only member of the family now living, was reared on his father’s farm and attended the rural schools of his native county. Later he was a student at Lombard University and after his graduation taught school in Illinois until illness compelled him to abandon educational work. In search of health, he came to southern California, locating at Riverside in 1883, but removed to Banning soon afterward, and here he has since remained. Working along constructive lines, he has made his labors vital elements in the development of the town and surrounding district and was largely instrumental in securing for the residents of Banning an adequate supply of pure water, acting as president and manager of the Banning Water Company from its inception until ill health forced him to resign in 1931. Since 1929 he has served as president of the San Gorgonio Building-Loan Association, which was organized in Banning to encourage savings and home ownership in this particular community and has materially stimulated its growth and progress. The officers of the Association are: C. D. Hamilton and D. H. Gates, vice presidents; and C. O. Barker, Jr., secretary. The board of directors is composed of C. O. Barker, C. D. Hamilton, Theodore Backus, John O. Clark, H. W. Dill, D. A. Innes, D. H. Gates, W. S. Hathaway, and C. O. Barker, Jr.
In 1906 Mr. Barker was married to Miss Beulah Roth of St. Louis, Missouri, and they have become the parents of two sons and a daughter: Charles O., Jr., an officer of the San Gorgonio Building-Loan Association; George R., who is attending Pomona College at Claremont, California; and Carolyn Louise, a high school pupil. Mr. Barker belongs to the blue lodge of Masons at Banning, to the York Rite bodies at Riverside, and to Al Malaikah Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Los Angeles. He is a former member of the Kiwanis Club and in full accord with the high aims and purposes of the organization. In politics a stalwart Republican, he was the successful candidate of his party for the state assemblyman from this district in the early ‘90s, and while a member of the California legislature served on important committees and was the father of a number of measures which have proved of value to the commonwealth. Striving toward high ideals, he has used practical methods in their attainment and has an enviable record of achievement in behalf of his city and state.
Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 253-254, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 V. Gerald Iaquinta.