The vibrant Barbara Jean Walker was born October 8, 1945 in Elizabeth, NJ to the late Richard Lewellen Cashwell Sr. and Dolores Veronica (Brown) Cashwell. She was the first born of 11 children. Her parents taught her that hard work and a good education were paramount in life. As a nod to the beautiful woman who raised Barbara she named her first daughter Dolores. And Dolores named her daughter Veronica. When beauty, strength and grace collide the impact resonates through generations.
Barbara was raised with strong Christian values. As a young girl, Barbara really exemplified those values as she excelled in her studies in the Elizabeth, New Jersey Public Schools. As a teenager, Barbara was selected to represent her High School at Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, NY. Barbara was very proud of her accomplishment and would often share this story with her children and grandchildren. She also loved to tell her family about her time working as a hospital volunteer. Even as a young woman, she enjoyed helping others.
After High School, Barbara worked at Chemical Bank in Manhattan. There, her skills and swift thinking constantly enabled her to be promoted to more prominent positions. After her mother passed away, Barbara selflessly left her successful career in banking, returned home to Elizabeth, NJ and helped to care for her 10 younger siblings. Being the oldest, Barbara stepped into her new role as matriarch with tireless selfless dedication. She instilled in her siblings: a love of Christ, a strong work ethic, and a devotion to family that they continue to share with their children.
Falling in love most commonly involves emotion with the absence of thought but not in Barbara’s case. In 1963 Barbara and Jesse Walker first laid eyes on each other at a candy store on 5th Street in Elizabeth, NJ. Barbara realized “The Wild Boy,” as she so appropriately called Jesse, was not ready. After several failed attempts to take her on a date Jesse entered The US ARMY. When he returned home in 1967, a chance encounter brought the two of them back together. When Jesse saw Barbara again he said, “Don’t I know you?” With four years of maturity under his belt, he finally got his chance to take her on a date to the movies. That was the start of a loving life together.
Barbara and Jesse were joined in holy matrimony on August 30, 1969. This union was blessed with 8 children, 17 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren, and more than 50 years of beautiful memories. She always said “count your blessings”, and she surely had many.
Barbara lived a joyful life as a wonderful mother and homemaker. Throughout her life Barbara worked outside of her home several times; including serving as the interim Director of Born Again Church of God in Christ Day Care Center (Linden, NJ). In every position, she brought her strong ethics, nurturing personality, as well as her pride in doing a job well. Although the world needs more people like Barbara she felt that her family needed her most. Ultimately, she decided to leave the work force and dedicated herself to raising her family; and for that we are grateful. She held tight to the mantra “With God, all things are possible.” She guided her family to be close-knit under the spiritual direction of Romans 12:10 KJV “Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” Barbara was the golden thread that knit her family together. Heart-to-heart, she seamlessly connected loved ones over many generations. That golden thread can no longer be heard but she lives forevermore in her husband, siblings, children and children’s children.
Barbara loved cooking, reading the newspaper, evening television like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, watching the NY Yankees, and spending time with her family. She had an impeccable sense of style and enjoyed shopping with her daughters and decorating her home. She loved enjoying major holidays, especially Christmas when she constantly reminded all that Jesus is the Reason for the Season! She always loved celebrating life’s smaller moments as well.
In May 2020, Barbara suffered a stroke, after a heroic battle to recover, she quietly transitioned from Earth to glory on Thursday July 23rd 2020. Barbara spent her final days in Virginia side-by-side with Jesse and her loving family where she was constantly told, “You are loved, You are adored, You are cared for”.
Barbara was preceded in death by her mother: Dolores Veronica (Brown) Cashwell, father: Richard Lewellen Cashwell, Sr., and siblings: Richard Cashwell, Jr., Jackie Simmons, Douglas Cashwell, and Arnold Cashwell.
Barbara’s beautiful memory will forever be cherished in the lives of her devoted husband: Jesse Lee Walker, Sr.; eight children: Dolores Walker, Jesse Lee Walker Jr., Rubin Walker, Tamika Walker, Dennis (Cortnie) Walker, Dawnette (Gary) King, Tamara Walker (Roger Chapman), and Corey (Tasia) Walker; 17 grandchildren; 5 great grandchildren; siblings: Rhoda (Herbie) Hollingsworth, Ada Cashwell, Helen (Willie) Davis, Joanette (Harold) Houston, Tony Cashwell, Robin Cashwell; a beloved Uncle Arnold (Anne) Brown; Aunt Betty Brown; and a host of nieces, nephews, loving family, and close friends.
While we say “I can’t believe she’s gone.” God’s saying “I’m so glad you’re here.”
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