Longtime Alameda resident Joseph Wilson passed away at the Shields Nursing Center in Richmond, Calif., after an extended illness on Oct. 29. He was a veteran of the Korean War, where he served in the Judge Advocate General’s Department overseas and later became a counselor in alcohol and drug matters and an advisor to the Oakland Police Department.
Born in Oakland on April 23, 1931, he was a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and was able to receive his 52-year sobriety chip shortly before he passed away.
Joe is survived by two daughters, Victoria Lynn Wilson of San Leandro and Cynthia Eileen Wilson of Ogden, Iowa. He is to be interred at Sacramento Valley National Military Cemetery in Dixon.
All who knew him will miss his cheerful approach to life, his profound wisdom deriving from a well-earned sobriety and his ability to find the key to most problems — “Don’t drink and go to meetings.”
Fern Barker died peacefully in her beloved Alameda home on Oct. 31, 2019. Born in Chicago, Ill, on Feb. 9, 1933, she grew up in Glencoe, Ill., and graduated from New Trier High School in 1951.
Fern joined the stewardess corps of United Airlines, flying in DC-7’s on the West Coast until her 1955 marriage to Ensign Bill Barker. Fern was a dedicated naval officer’s wife, caring for her family as a single parent during her husband’s many deployments during the Vietnam War.
The Barker family moved to Alameda in 1969.
Fern’s creative spirit and passion for art drove her to earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts in jewelry and metal arts from California College of Arts and Crafts in 1973. This propelled her long and successful career as a jeweler and teacher of creative arts in the Bay Area.
Fern is survived by her children: Deb Barker (Mark Shaw), and Brad Barker (Paula); grandchildren: Meghan, Nick and Tessa Barker; sister Gale Whitnell; ex-husband Bill Barker; five nephews and a niece.
Memorial services will be held in the spring of 2020.
John “Ted” Schmidt fell victim to suicide on Dec. 5. He was a deeply loving and sensitive man whose tender heart had more burdens than it could bear.
Ted was born at Providence Hospital in Oakland to Joan and Paul Schmidt, on his mother’s 30th birthday. She always called him her birthday present.
As the youngest of their active and sociable family, he was also known widely as “little Teddy Schmidt.” He grew up tinkering in the garage, taking things apart, putting them back together, learning how to make or fix just about anything, especially anything on wheels. As he grew, he progressed from go-carts to cars. In the company of his friends, brothers and sister, he enjoyed a childhood full of creativity, camaraderie and more than a few escapades.
As an adult, he made his living with his innate understanding of engineering and gifted hands. He worked for several years for German Auto Service in Alameda. A long-time friend, Bruce Brothers, recruited him into the mobility business at a point when he was looking to do something new in the mid-1990s.
He met his wife, Heidi, in San Francisco, in 1997, when he was installing a stair lift for the household where she worked as a private chef. They were married in 2000, the same year he started his own handicapped-accessibility business. Heidi was happy to join him in this endeavor, as it allowed her the chance to be home with their three sons. They raised their boys and ran their business together from their home in Alameda until his passing. He shared his love for making things with his own two hands with his boys, as well as his enjoyment of the cars, boats, road trips and camping.
In his business, he was beloved by clients and associates for his patience, persistence and integrity. Whenever Heidi spoke to clients on the phone and introduced herself as his wife, they would invariably be bursting to tell her how much they loved working with him.
Ted was predeceased by his mother, Joan Schmidt and his father-in-law, Alan Olson. He is survived by his wife, Heidi, and sons: Michael, George and Albert; his father Paul Schmidt; brother Paul (Karrie) Schmidt of Oakland; sister Deborah (Walter) Macy of Concord; brother David Schmidt; mother-in-law Marlys Olson; sister-in-law Sara Wester; sister-in-law Heather Swanson, he is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are invited to attend a recitation of the holy rosary at 10:45 a.m. followed by a memorial mass this Saturday, Dec. 14, at 11 a.m. at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church, 3100 Van Buren St.
For more info, contact Harry W. Greer, funeral director (FDR-745).
Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.