Matilda Kent Tarleton: Unveiling the Legacy of Bob Barker’s Mother

Matilda Kent Tarleton, fondly known as “Tillie,” was a remarkable figure whose life embodied dedication and unwavering spirit. Born on October 18, 1897, in Eminence, New York, she grew into a respected educator and a …

matilda kent tarleton
Real Name:Matilda Kent "Tilly" Valandra nee Tarleton aka Barker
Birthday:October 18, 1897 - February 26, 1989
Net Worth:N/A
Occupation:American Educator, Historian, Author, Mother of Bob Barker

Matilda Kent Tarleton, fondly known as “Tillie,” was a remarkable figure whose life embodied dedication and unwavering spirit.

Born on October 18, 1897, in Eminence, New York, she grew into a respected educator and a central figure in her community.

Her academic journey led her to graduate from Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, South Dakota, which paved the way for her to become one of the state’s most esteemed educators.

Apart from her professional achievements, Matilda’s personal life was also noteworthy.

She was the proud mother of the well-known TV show host Bob Barker, emphasizing her role not only as an educator but also as a nurturer of talent.

Her legacy extended beyond her professional contributions, touching upon the lives of those closest to her, including her son, who would go on to become a household name in the United States.

Key Takeaways

  • Matilda Kent Tarleton was an esteemed educator and mother of TV personality Bob Barker.
  • She was born in New York and later left an indelible mark on South Dakota’s educational landscape.
  • Her legacy continues through her personal and professional impacts, remembered for her warmth and dedication.

Early Life and Background

Matilda Kent Tarleton’s story begins in the heart of the American experience, with her being a significant figure for her role as Bob Barker’s mother and her journey as an educator.

Family and Early Beginnings

Matilda Kent “Tilly” Tarleton was born on October 18, 1897, in a setting that speaks of the American tapestry—a narrative colored with the spirit of adventure and the values of family.

She hailed from Eminence, New York, born to Robert Eckler Tarleton and Mary Elizabeth Tarleton.

Her life took an interesting turn when she moved to the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, a place of great cultural significance and a testament to her family’s willingness to embrace new surroundings.

Education and Career

Driven by an innate passion for learning and sharing knowledge, she became a school teacher.

Matilda’s educational and professional endeavors led her to Springfield, Missouri, where she was known to have impacted young minds positively at a local educational establishment.

Her footsteps in academia echoed through the halls of Drury College, now known as Drury University.

Despite the scarcity of detailed records, one can envision her steadfast dedication to her pupils, likely shaped by the academic rigor she either encountered or admired at institutes such as the George Washington University Hospital or perhaps through the airwaves of KTTS-FM Radio, where educational material was often broadcasted in the era.

Personal Life

Matilda Kent Tarleton’s personal life, anchored in her relationships and her approach to health and wellness, reveals the foundational support she provided to her family, including her son, Bob Barker.

Marriage and Relationships

Matilda Kent Tarleton was married to Byron John Barker, and they were parents to the renowned TV host Bob Barker.

Her role as a supportive spouse and mother is noted as significant, especially considering Bob Barker’s successful career in television.

Matilda’s marriage and relationships were pillars in her family life, reportedly filled with nurturing and education, as both she and her husband were involved in teaching.

Health and Wellness

Matilda Kent Tarleton’s health later in life is not well-documented in public records, but she lived to be 91 years old, suggesting a life of relative wellness.

Much like many during her time, and even today, she would have faced the challenges of aging.

It’s important to recognize, however, that her son Bob Barker has had public health struggles, including skin cancer, prostate surgery, and a recovery from a stroke, as well as other age-related ailments such as difficulty with vision and hip issues.

Her eventual death led to her resting at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California, a place noted for the memorials of many notable individuals.

Those wishing to honor her memory can find her memorial page through the service Find a Grave, further commemorating her life and connection to her family.

Professional Accomplishments

Matilda Kent Tarleton, an inspirational figure for her son, Bob Barker, built a noteworthy career of her own. Stitching together a lifetime of achievements, she not only nurtured future television royalty but also left her distinct imprint on educational history.

Television and Broadcasting Career

Matilda Kent Tarleton’s professional accomplishments are often overshadowed by the towering figure of her son, Bob Barker.

Barker became a household name as he charmed America on the small screen with shows like CBS’s “The Price Is Right” and “Truth or Consequences,” created by Ralph Edwards.

Yet, it’s Matilda who infused the determination and grace into Barker, aiding in his rise to become one of television’s iconic game show hosts.

Her indirect connection extends to her son’s countless interviews, such as those on “Larry King Live,” reflecting the articulate nature she embodied and surely passed on.

Advocacy and Philanthropy

Beyond the screen, Matilda’s influences are palpable in Barker’s off-camera pursuits.

Notably, her values resonate in Barker’s passionate advocacy for animal rights and vegetarianism, a testament to her character as a role model.

Her son’s close ties with figures like Nancy Burnet and the unwavering sponsorship of animal welfare initiatives are silent echoes of Matilda’s own legacy of compassion and philanthropy, even if her journey did not place her directly in the Hollywood Hills of California.

Legacy and Remembrance

Matilda Kent “Tilly” Tarleton Valandra, often known simply as Matilda Kent Tarleton, made a lasting impression as an educator and through her family lineage.

She was a dedicated schoolteacher and later became the superintendent of schools for Todd County on the Rosebud Indian Reservation.

Her commitment to education and her community is remembered by many.

After her passing on February 26, 1989, Matilda’s memory continues to be honored by loved ones and historians alike.

Her memorial page can be visited on Find a Grave, a significant platform for remembering departed souls.

This site provides a space for paying homage to her life:

Find a Grave Memorial ID: 258758580
Location: Maple Park Cemetery, Springfield, Greene County, Missouri, USA
Created by: Contributor Garrett
Date Added: August 28, 2023

Matilda’s legacy is intertwined with her son, Bob Barker, the legendary American television game show host.

His career success brought additional attention to Matilda, highlighting her role not only as a mother but also as an influencer in his life.

Her husband, Louis Valandra, along with the rest of her family, is part of this enduring story.

The couple’s contributions to their communities and the impacts they’ve made endure in the hearts of those who knew them and contribute to the cultural heritage of the region.

Matilda’s work in the field of education and her family’s prominence ensures that her memory and achievements will not be forgotten.

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