Barbara was born on Dec. 4, 1924, in Chittenden, VT to Etta Blanchard Clark and Leland Clark. Barbara died peacefully at her home in Carpinteria with her family by her side on Sept. 28, 2021. She was 96 years young and very proud of that. Barbara and Walter are now together again.
A Message from Barbara:
When I was four months old my mother died. I was the 7th child in our family. My father asked my aunt and uncle to raise me since he was not able to manage so many children. I was brought up by Aunt Carrie and Uncle Clarence Blanchard. They were very good to me, and I loved them very much.
Growing up in Vermont was great fun helping with the big garden and swimming in the summer. Homemade root beer soda was amazing. And there was also sledding, skating, and skiing in the winter. I went to school in a one room schoolhouse and in the winter the farm boys used to bake their potatoes on top of the big potbellied stove. It smelled so good!
When I was fifteen years old, I met the love of my life, Walter, at Lake Champlain in Vermont. We were each vacationing at the lake with our families. Walter and I saw each other twice before he left for WWII and I left for Nursing school in Fitchburg, Mass. I graduated from the Burbank Hospital School of Nursing as an RN with a Major in OB/GYN. Walter came home from the war in April of 1946 and we were married 2 months later.
Five wonderful children were born of this union. Ronald Walter (Jennifer), Linda Helen (Steve) Hockins, Carrie Etta (Dave) Kirchner, James William (Renee), and Timothy Allen (Dori). Also, 14 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren.
My Nursing career came in very handy as I could work in any state and care for our five children. We moved to Carpinteria in 1957 from Los Angeles. It has been a wonderful city to raise a family in.
In the early ’60s I served as a Carpinteria PTA President, and then became interested in Politics in the late ’70s. I held posts as President in the Carpinteria Republican Club, The Santa Barbara Republican Club and was on the Santa Barbara County Republican Central Committee. I was so happy to have had two gubernatorial appointee positions. Governor Deukmejian named me to the Medical Quality Review Committee for a four-year term. I reviewed Health Legislation and made my recommendations on whether the state federation should approve an appointment. Governor Wilson appointed me to the 19th District Agricultural Association. I held Vice President and President positions on this boards. I was on this board at Earl Warren Showgrounds for seven years.
I also enjoyed recording books for the Blind through the Braille Institute in Santa Barbara.
A Message from Barbara’s Family:
Mom was our greatest cheerleader! She encouraged us to follow our dreams and make sure we got an education. She had endless energy and was always looking for something fun to do. She used to play the piano for our youth choirs at Carpinteria Community Church. She and Dad had a love of Jazz music which lead them to Jazz Festivals and New Orleans several times.
They found a small trailer and took us to Yosemite several times where we had unforgettable memories. Mom loved to cook meals in that trailer. Mom also drove that trailer behind a station wagon cross-country to Vermont with her sister as Dad was back east on business. All five of us kids in tow.
When Dad died in 2013, Mom became a member of the Carpinteria Lions Club. She sure loved all the fun. We asked Mom if there was anything that she had left on her bucket list and she said she had always wanted to go to Alaska. So, she booked a cruise to Alaska and took all five of us kids, our spouses and her good friend Nancy Branigan. Mom only had one rule on this trip and that was to be on time to dinner and yes, we were never late. We will never forget this memorable trip. Mom was 90 years old at the time of this trip.
This past July 4th we had a family get together at Mom’s house and a large group of our family were able to come home. We are so glad we all had this time with Mom.
After Mom’s first stroke in July, she was improving every day to the amazement of everyone. She was one tough cookie! Sadly, there was a second stroke two months later that she could not recover from.
Mom has told us many times “I had a wonderful life and now she can make music with Dad again. Just like that!”
A celebration of Barbara’s life will take place at the Carpinteria Lions Club/Park on Sunday, November 28th from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. In Lieu of flowers please donate to the Carpinteria Lions Club. PO Box 191, Carpinteria, CA 93013.