FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)- Integrity runs in the Barker family, four generations of GM employees, four generations of veterans, and four generations of stories that they reminisced over Friday.
Their story starts on the east coast, where first-generation Wilmer Fitzgerald, was the Superintendent at the Baltimore Assembly. Wilmer was an Army World War II veteran, Fitzgerald passed in 198. Second-generation Samuel Barker, Jr. also worked at the Baltimore Assembly but then moved to the Fort Wayne area as a Group Leader. Samuel retired in 1999 after 37 years with General Motors. He was a Vietnam War Marine. Third-generation Joe Barker started at GM in 1993, where he is currently a UAW training representative. Joe Barker is the only Fort Wayne GM employee to be a Coast Guard veteran. Finally, fourth generation Samuel Barker has worked at the Fort Wayne Assembly for five years (started in 2018), Electrician, and is a Marine veteran just like his grandfather.
Samuel was thrilled when his son Joe, wanted to continue to pave the way.
“Thought it was a fantastic opportunity,” said Samuel Barker, second generation. “I appreciate the fact that he wanted to do that you follow in my footsteps in some of the people that I’ve worked with, had a lot to do with getting Joe transferred to this plant.”
Joe and his father Samuel, worked five years together at the GM in Fort Wayne.
“I go see him over there and his workers always liked him, he had a lot of respect from the guys around him even though the union guys and especially back then,” said Joe Barker.
As for the future? There is a possibility for a fifth-generation Barker GM employee.
“If there’s a fifth generation, they probably will be doing something more than I’m doing there,” Samuel Barker, fourth generation. “They’ll be doing something more advanced than what I’m doing.”
Joe Barker will be celebrating his 30th year with GM in three weeks. In June, GM will hold a celebration for their 10 millionth truck to roll off the line.