Norma "Jean" (Barker) Chatman, 82, of Winter Haven, Florida, went to her eternal home in Heaven on May 19, 2023. Born on May 21, 1940 in Poplar Bluff, Missouri to Arley and Artie May (Brayton) Barker, Jean was the 7th of 10 children. She accepted the Lord Jesus at age 9 at the First Church of God Poplar Bluff, Missouri. On her 20th birthday in 1960, she married the love of her life, Charles Everett Chatman. They served together and loved each other faithfully until his passing in 2021.
In those 61 years, she traveled far and wide with Charles. She was his constant companion and helpmate as he pastored churches and launched the Charles Chatman Evangelistic Association. From their roots in Missouri, they shared the Gospel in countries around the world including Haiti, Kenya, India, Jamaica, Lesotho, Russia, Germany, Ukraine, and Burma…just to name a few.
In ministry, she served as a pastor’s wife, the administrative right hand of the CCEA, chef extraordinaire on countless team trips to Haiti, and prankster to many unwitting mission team members. For 33 years, the focus of their international evangelism was the country of Haiti, leading groups to build 33 churches, orphanages, homes, schools and clinics. In addition to the building projects, the teams were busy digging wells, performing medical and dental work, teaching hygiene classes, offering sewing lessons, and going on hut to hut visitations. She also developed and managed sponsorships for thousands of Haitian orphans. Jean had the gift of hospitality, whether she was cooking over a charcoal fire for a mission team of 30 in the mountains of Northwest Haiti or a 5 course meal on fine china. She loved to host special events in her home or at church. She loved to celebrate holidays, and special occasions; always planning detailed parties, menus and making sure the decorations were just right. The bigger the challenge, the greater her joy. And before one event was complete, the next party was already in the works. She embodied the heart of Jesus as a servant leader with complete devotion and submission to God’s call on her life. She worked diligently and sacrificially with gladness of heart.
The celebration of her life and her legacy will continue on through her children, Darla (Brian) Harris, Cindy (Dan) Clouse, and Bryan (Cate) Chatman, 9 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren, and many other beloved family members.
She is also survived by her siblings Arley (Lois) Barker of Poplar Bluff, MO; Eugene Barker of Fairdealing, MO; Kenneth Barker of Poplar Bluff, MO; Art (Linda) Barker of Morris, IL; and Sue (Jimmy) Gilbert of Poplar Bluff, MO and many greatly loved nieces, nephews and other dear family members.
She is preceded in death by her husband Charles, her parents, and sisters Evelyn Burgin, Mary Ellen Tibbs, Dorothy Patterson and brother William “Bill” Barker.
The public is welcome to attend Jean’s Homegoing celebration service at 11:00 am on Wednesday, May 31st at First Baptist Church, 551 N. Westwood Blvd, Poplar Bluff, Missouri with burial following at Black Creek Cemetery. Visitation is at 10:00 am. There will be a celebration of life for her family, friends and loved ones in Florida on Thursday, June 8th at 11:00 am at Calvary Baptist Church, 2101 Overlook Drive, Winter Haven, Florida. A fellowship luncheon will follow at 12:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the “Legacy of Love” fund at First Baptist Lucerne Park. The purpose is to renovate and refresh the church to leave a firm foundation for the future generations. Jean would have loved to further the ministry that she and Charles held so dear. Please send donations to: First Baptist Church-Lucerne Park, Legacy of Love Fund, 5650 FL-544, Winter Haven, FL 33881.
Cotrell Willow Ridge Funeral & Cremation Services is honored to serve the family of Norma Jean Chatman. Online condolences can be made at www.cwrfcs.com
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