Lillian Irene (Dietrich) Barker-Hannon was born Aug. 22, 1923, on a farm south of Gering, to Alexander and Pauline (Zechman) Dietrich. Lillian was the second of seven children. Lillian passed away Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021, at Tabitha Harbor House in Lincoln.
Lillian attended Carter Canyon School and Gering High School, where she was a member of the school chorus, the sextet and a cheerleader for three years. She graduated salutatorian of her 1941 class and earned a scholarship to Barnes Business College in Denver, Colorado. After graduating from college, Lil was secretary to the Jr. Chamber of Commerce in Denver. The beginning of World War II brought an opportunity with Peter Kiewit Enterprises, working in Sidney at the Sioux Ordnance Depot, the Kearney Army Airbase and the Omaha Price Administration. Later she was a secretary to the IRS Deputy in Alliance, where she met her future husband, Donald Edward Barker. They were married in 1946 in Alliance Methodist Church and a daughter, Susan, and son, James, were born to this union.
While Don attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Lillian worked for the U.S. Airport Authority. After Don’s graduation, they purchased an insurance agency in Scottsbluff. Seven years later, they sold the agency and moved to Jacksonville, Florida. Lillian became involved in building a new Methodist Church in Arlingwood, Florida, where she sang in the choir and was church secretary.
While living in Florida, she became an Avon representative and quickly became the the No. 1 sales rep, earning her the opportunity to become a district sales manager. At the time, she and Don were getting divorced and Lil requested her district sales manager position be in Nebraska. She moved to Beatrice, and became a district sales manager for the southeast corner of Nebraska, supervising nine counties and more than 200 sales representatives for 25 years. She was an incredibly accomplished businesswoman. Staying active and involved was always an important part of her life. While living in Beatrice, she was a member of the Beatrice Chamber of Commerce, President of BPOE Does and active in the Centenary Methodist Church.
Shortly after Lillian retired from Avon (1984), she met and married James Hannon and moved from Beatrice to Friend. Lillian was always active in the Methodist Church throughout her life and in Friend, she was a member of the Friend United Methodist Church, sang in the choir, served on the administrative council and as president of the United Methodist Women. She worked tirelessly as president of Golden Agers and is past president of the Warren Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, all of Friend. After marrying Jim Hannon, Lil became involved with his children and grandchildren, attending their many activities and enjoyed being part of his large family.
Lil is survived by her daughter, Susan Swoboda of Lincoln; son, James Donald Barker, Denver, Colorado; grandson, Shane Swoboda, Livermore, California; great-grandchildren, Devon and Kyleigh Swoboda of Beatrice, Truett Swoboda of Dallas, Texas; a brother and sister-in-law, Willard and Karen Dietrich of Alliance; her step-children and spouses, Judy and Dean Crawford, Friend, Steve and Judy Hannon, York, Michael Hannon, Ft. Worth, Texas, and their families. She was preceded in death by her beloved grandson, Burke Swoboda; brother and sisters-in-law, Alex Jr. and Shirley Dietrich, Marvin and Betty Dietrich; sister and brothers-in-law, Alma and Jack Runge, Barbara and Larry Garrett; her brother, Kenneth Dietrich; and her loving parents, Alex Sr. and Pauline Dietrich.
Lillian’s wishes were for her to be cremated and a celebration of her life will be at a later date at the Friend United Methodist Church. Her final resting place will be at Alliance Cemetery in Alliance. Memorial contributions are suggested to the church. Condolences may be left for the family at www.lauberfh.com.