Barbara Jean Allen Garrett died peacefully, surrounded by her family, on September 16, 2017.
She was born on June 26, 1931, in Gary, Ind., and was always proud of her Hoosier roots. She graduated valedictorian of her high school class in 1949 and received an education degree from the University of Indiana, where she pledged Chi Omega.
She met John W. Garrett Jr., from Joplin, Mo., when they were both attendants for their best friends' wedding. A long-distance romance followed and they married in 1954 and settled in Joplin. They raised three children and enjoyed a rich life together full of love, laughter, travel and wonderful experiences until John died in 1990.
Barbara was a first grade teacher for over 25 years, touching the lives of hundreds of children, many of whom stayed in contact with her long after they left her classroom. She had a passion for learning and prepared many in-depth papers for her Wednesday Study Club, researched topics for her AAUW Drama Group and attended NASA's Space Camp for Educators. She was named a Joplin Teacher of the Year in the late 1980s and served as president of the local NEA chapter. Barbara was passionate about the Joplin community, serving on boards for the Joplin Little Theatre, PEO, YWCA, Women's Club and the Ozark Area Girl Scout Council. She was a docent at Spiva Center for the Arts, Joplin Library and the History & Mineral Museum and was an enthusiastic supporter of the MSSU Drama Department and Heartland Opera Theater. A 60-year member of First Presbyterian Church, she was an elder, a deacon, Sunday School teacher and a member of the Mariners Class and Circle 7.
Barbara's proudest achievement was her family who all deeply love and honor her. We will cherish every memory and continue the many traditions she began for us.
In addition to her husband, she is preceded in death by her mother, Evelyn Allen Engelien, and her brother, Dick Allen.
She is survived by her brother, Bob Allen (Ril) Whittier, California; by her daughters, Marilyn Wimer and Karen Garrett (Kevin Hennessy), both of the Kansas City area; her son, Bob Garrett (Suzanne), of Walnut Creek, Calif.; grandchildren, Philip Wimer (Holly), Andrew Wimer (Emily) and Claire Wimer (Brendan Orwig), all of Kansas City, Laura Wimer, San Francisco, Christine Fulton (Mark Hokkanen), New Orleans, Annie Fulton, Washington, D.C., and Carolyn Garrett, Walnut Creek; step grandson, Nick Hennessy (Cara), and step granddaughter, Kathryn Carnahan (Andrew), both of Kansas City; nine great-grandchildren and six step great-grandchildren.
The family would like to thank the staffs of Bishop Spencer Place and Kansas City Hospice House for their extraordinary care of Mom.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, September 22, at First Presbyterian Church, in Joplin, with Rev. Dr. John Nipper officiating. Visitation is 7 - 8:30 p.m. Thursday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to First Presbyterian Church of Joplin, Spiva Center for the Arts and Joplin Little Theatre.
Online condolences may be sent to the family through our website thornhill-dillon.com.
Arrangements are under the personal care and direction of Thornhill-Dillon Mortuary, Joplin.
Published on September 20, 2017