This is a page about people from Carl Barks' family life. A page containing fragments of a man's private life will always be in danger of trampling upon information and events which are not supposed to be shown to the public. However, it is felt that the page fits in naturally with all the other pages as the website's intention and goal are to paint as complete a picture of Carl Barks and his life and work as possible. But it is important to emphasize that it does not attempt to divulge things that had better be left alone as it will serve no purpose at all. Therefore you will not find strictly private details but merely bits and pieces which Barks himself, his nearest associates, and public records have published over the years.
Born: March 15th, 1858 in Bullinger County, Missouri
Died: October 5th, 1940 in Tulelake, Siskiyou County, California
William's ancestors were from Holland (mother's family name was Shrum) and came to America before the Revolutionary War.
He was a very hardworking man. Beside his farm work he also managed a small blacksmith shop for a few years.
William married Arminta in Montague, California in 1898.
Arminta Johnson (married Barks)
Born: 1860 in Mississippi
Died: November, 1916 in Merrill, Klamath County, Oregon
Arminta's father's ancestors came from Scotland and were named Johnson, and her mother's ancestors came from England and were named Massey. Her father was Carl Johnson, and her mother was Susanna Massey.
She was born in Mississippi but grew up in Missouri where she attended the same school as her future husband.
Arminta had two sisters, Barbara and Drusilla, and three brothers, Drew, Carl, and Albert.
She had a few black sheep in the family: One great-uncle, Bill Massey, killed a boy and a man, and an uncle, Jake Johnson, was a riverboat gambler who died of pneumonia after escaping the law by swimming the Mississippi river.
Jake's twin brothers, Albert and Alfred, went to California in the 1849 gold rush and struck it rich! Going home through Texas, they bought 14,000 acres of land, some of which are where Fort Worth now stands. As years passed the holding became worth 5 million dollars. Neither brother could read or write so they hired a lawyer to guide them. He cheated them out of every cent they had.
Arminta married William in Montague, California in 1898.
Born: August 15th, 1899 in Merrill, Klamath County, Oregon
Died: November, 1983 in Tulelake, Siskiyou County, California
As children, Clyde used to tell Carl stories that he invented himself when they had gone to bed at night.
Clyde became the owner of Hotel Clyde in Tulelake, California. He lived there with his wife Zena May Dillard (died in 1986) and their two children William and Maxine.
The Tulelake area is known as the Horseradish Capital of the World producing 1/3 of USA's harvest. Maybe Carl remembered this information when he wrote his famous horseradish story...
|THE MAN HIMSELF|
|Name: Carl Barks
Born: March 27th, 1901 in Merrill, Klamath County, Oregon
Died: August 25th, 2000 in Grants Pass, Josephine County, Oregon
The first three digits of Carl's SSN (Social Security Number) indicates the geographic area for California, and reveals that he registered either in Los Angeles in 1935 when starting at Disney's or in San Jacinto in 1966 when applying for his social security as a pensioner.
In some way Barks did not become a citizen of the United States until he was 65. He once said, 'The records were kept in that western homestead country. People lived many miles apart and I guess that when I was born, there was word gotten to a doctor about five miles away to come out and deliver a baby at this homestead. Whether he recorded it or not ? There was no place to record it because the county governments were pretty flimsy in those days. So at the time I got my social security at 65, I had to establish that I was born in the United States.'
Carl had 2 daughters, 4 grandchildren, 6 great-grandchildren and 8 great-great-grandchildren.
|THE FIRST WIFE|
|Name: Pearl Emmeline Turner
Born: October 9th, 1904 in Montesano, Grays Harbor County, Washington
Died: May 27th, 1987 in Shelton, Mason County, Washington
Pearl's father's ancestors came from England in 1850 and were named Turner. Her father, William Alfred McClain Turner, immigrated to the USA from Canada. Her mother's ancestors came from Germany with the family name Zimmermann which was later Americanized to Smith. They lived in Minnesota.
Pearl had just graduated from high school when she married Carl.
The couple was married from 1921 to 1930. Frictions between Pearl's wish to lead a normal social life and Carl's wish to dedicate himself to his work resulted in their separation.
After the separation Pearl was a waitress for many years.
She died of cancer.
|THE FIRST DAUGHTER|
|Name: Peggy Phyllis P. (her name by marriage
withheld by the editor)
Born: January 23rd, 1923 in Merrill, Klamath County, Oregon
Died: July 23rd, 1963 in Minter Creek, Pierce County, Washington
Following their parent's divorce she lived with her sister Dorothy until adulthood on the farm of their mother's parents in Merrill, Oregon.
Peggy contributed several ideas for her father's comic book stories. She was paid 20 dollars per idea.
She died of lung cancer in a hospital but her father was not able to attend the funeral as he was hospitalized himself.
Peggy left behind 1 boy and 2 girls.
|THE SECOND DAUGHTER|
|Name: Dorothy Louise Gibson.
Born: November 26th, 1924 in Roseville, Placer County, California
Died: May 6th, 2014 in Bremerton, Kitsap County, Washington
Following their parent's divorce she lived with her sister Peggy until adulthood on the farm of their mother's parents in Merrill, Oregon.
Dorothy left behind 1 daughter.
|THE SECOND WIFE|
|Name: Clara Balken
Clara was a telephone operator in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when she met Carl in 1931.
The couple was married from 1938 to 1951.
She helped her husband with some of the inking in his comics.
Clara developed a severe drinking problem during the marriage. She would get into uncontrollable moodswings and several times she tried to destroy Carl's artwork and she did manage to tear up his collections of comic books.
Clara had her amputated at the knee in 1950 due to cancer.
At the divorce Carl was left with nothing but his drawing board, a couple of blankets, and his beloved National Geographic Magazines. He later admitted that she had been a bad choice.
Carl paid her alimony until she died.
|THE THIRD WIFE|
Margaret (Garé) Wynnfred Barletta Williams
Born: December 6th, 1917 in Hawaii in today's Hawaii County
Died: March 10th, 1993 in Grants Pass, Josephine County, Oregon
Garé was an extremely gifted landscape painter all of her life.
She met Carl briefly already in 1942 when she asked him for a job. Garé had just left art school and she was interested in gettting some experience. But Carl did not have anything for her and she spent the following years lettering drafting pages for McDonnell Douglas. In 1952 they met again - at an art exhibition - and this time she was immediately given work doing lettering, inking and some backgrounds for the comic books. A task she would carry out for him until he retired.
The couple were married from 1954 until her death.
Carl and Garé owned a teddybear (see photo) purchased from a visiting professor of Montana University who made bears in his spare time. It was named Monty and during the years he was given an increasing, robust past from the couple's vivid imagination, such as when he was riding shotgun on Wells Fargo stagecoaches.
Garé introduced her husband to the world of painting. He started this phase of his career under her supervision.
Carl designed the couple's last dwelling himself with Garé's illness in mind. But she died just a few days after they moved in.
March 27th, 2000