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SE Alaska Native Retires From Forest Service After 30 Years


December 26, 2003
Friday - 12:50 am

A long-time Sitka resident is retiring Jan. 2 after more than 30 years of service on the Tongass National Forest.

Marti Barker, who's lived in Sitka for 51 years, is the purchasing agent for the north end of the Tongass. She started working for the Forest Service in Sitka Jan. 11, 1981.

"I commend Marti for her hard work and more than 30 years of dedicated service," said Tongass National Forest Supervisor Forrest Cole. "I hate to see her go. She is an integral part of the Tongass team and will be missed. We wish her all the best."

Barker said it's the people in the Forest Service who have made her career a memorable one.

"I really enjoyed meeting people from all over due to the diversity of the Forest Service," said Barker. "I've learned you never really say bye to anyone because in a few years you see them back in a different capacity or as a visitor."

Before beginning her career with the Forest Service, Barker worked for the Bureau of Public Roads (now the Federal Highway Administration) in Juneau and the Bureau of Indian Affairs at Mt. Edgecumbe.

Born in Juneau and raised in Sitka, Barker was a member of the last graduating class at Sheldon Jackson High School in 1967.

Barker said retirement is a "little scary."

Retiring is "a little scary but exciting at the same time," she said. "I am looking forward to spending time with my grandchildren as they have a nasty habit of growing up too fast."

Barker will remain in Sitka after retiring and her plans include "watching my number six grandchild, Philip he is 18 months old so I have a feeling he'll keep me on my toes big time."

Barker is a Native Alaskan. She is an Eagle, Kogwonton, from the Wolf House. Her parents were Philip and Elsie James of Sitka.

Barker has many family members who reside in Sitka. Her husband, Pat, owns a towing and automotive shop. Her daughter, Melanie Barker, works at SEARHC, and has a son Philip. Her daughter, Michelle Gundaker, has two sons, Caleb and Ryan, and works at Sheldon Jackson. Gundaker's husband, Brian, owns the dive shop. Barker also has a son, Pat, Jr. He's married to Jay, who also works at SEARHC, and they have two children, Ellie and Jayden.

Barker's eldest daughter, Denise Heckman, and her husband, Carl, have two children, Matt and Marisa, and they live in Oregon.

Barker's retirement party is set for 6:30 p.m. Jan. 2 at the Nugget Restaurant in Sitka's airport terminal.


Source of News Release:

Forest Service - Tongass National Forest
Web Site


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