FILE - Legendary game show host Bob Barker, 83, waves goodbye as he tapes his final episode of "The Price Is Right," in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 6, 2007. Barker signed off from 35 years on the game show and 50 years in daytime TV in the same low-key, genial fashion that made him one of daytime TV’s biggest stars. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

FILE - Legendary game show host Bob Barker, 83, waves goodbye as he tapes his final episode of "The Price Is Right," in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 6, 2007. Barker signed off from 35 years on the game show and 50 years in daytime TV in the same low-key, genial fashion that made him one of daytime TV’s biggest stars. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Late Bob Barker’s roots were not so deep in ‘timber town’ of Darrington

Barker moved as a youngster and didn’t come back much, if ever, to mingle. But some fans have come looking for his birthplace.

DARRINGTON — The death of beloved game show legend Bob Barker put a spotlight on his birthplace.

He’s from Darrington?

There isn’t a Bob Barker boulevard or statue in the logging mountain town of about 1,400 residents. No “Bob Barker slept here” historical marker, either. Nothing but talk about the famous son.

Barker died at his Los Angeles home on Aug. 26 at 99, a few months shy of turning 100.

Robert William Barker left Darrington several years after his birth in 1923. It appears after that he didn’t come on down here often, if at all.

Of course, he was busy. Barker hosted “Truth or Consequences” from 1956 to 1975 and “The Price Is Right” from 1972 to 2007. He was a prominent animal rights activist.

On Thursday, Drew Carey hosted “The Price is Right: A Tribute to Bob Barker” on CBS in honor of his charming, trim and tanned predecessor.

Fans have been placing flowers at Barker’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

At least two fans showed up in Darrington. In this case, they were stepping on flowers.

“Last week, I was sitting in my office in a meeting and I could see some people wandering outside on the sidewalk,” said lifelong resident Tracy Franke, Darrington School District K-8 principal and superintendent.

“All of a sudden someone stepped in the flowerbed and knocked on my window with their cellphone. I go out there and two gentlemen were like, ‘Hey, do you know where Bob Barker was born?’”

She asked why.

“They said, ‘We’re from California and we just wanted to see where Bob Barker grew up,’” Franke said. “I said, ‘Well, he didn’t really grow up here.’”

She pointed them in the general direction to an area near Hazel where he was reputed to have toddled around.

In an oral history transcript from UCLA in 2011, Barker said his father led a crew putting in a power line in Washington and the family was living in a tent city for workers outside of Darrington, “which has been described to me as a little timber town.”

“And I was about to arrive,” Barker said, “so they took my mother into Darrington, and I don’t know whether there wasn’t a hospital there or what but I know that I was born in the doctor’s home.”

His dad sustained a spinal injury from a fall off a pole that eventually led to his death when Barker was 6, by which time they’d moved from Washington. His uncle, who lived in South Dakota on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, helped his mom get a job teaching school there.

“My father was a quarter Indian, so I was an eighth. But I was the only blue-eyed blonde Indian boy on the reservation,” Barker said in the transcript. “… I was proud of my Indian blood and am still proud of my Indian blood.”

After his mom remarried, the family moved to Missouri. Barker later went to California, where the rest is history.

“Well Darrington … our claim to fame is gone,” read a post this week on the “Darrington Reader Board” Facebook page.

His legacy will endure, as it has for decades without him showing up.

P.J. Wieferich, a school district paraeducator, said when she moved to Darrington from Alaska 19 years ago that on her first trip to the IGA she was told by a local that it was Barker’s hometown.

In her 10 years as a waitress, talking about Bob Barker was a way to break the ice with patrons passing through town. The area is a hub of outdoor recreation and known for its bluegrass festival.

“I always thought it would be hugely fun to offer a ‘Price Is Right’ Darrington Destination Vacation as a prize, now that we have so many fun things to see and do here,” Wieferich said. “Wouldn’t Bob be shocked when he opened the prize envelop and it said: ‘All expense paid trip to Bob Barker’s birthplace … beautiful Darrington, Washington!’”

Wieferich plans to honor Barker at her little thrift shop, Highlanders Secondhand and Antique Store.

“I’ll have a Bob Barker bag sale. I’ll have them write down the price and then whoever gets closest to the price wins,” she said.

Wieferich wished he would have come back to visit his birthplace and mingle a bit.

“I think he would have liked us,” she said.

Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443;; Twitter: @reporterbrown.

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