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Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Barbara DaSilva, it is easy to see both her unwavering strength and her unconditional love for her family. She was a shining example of kindness and generosity, and she was always willing to go above and beyond to serve those around her in ways both great and small. Nothing brought Barb greater joy than spending time with her loved ones, even in the simplest of moments. Her sense of humor and insatiable zest for life were contagious to all who were near. Deeply loved, Barb will be forever missed by those who knew her best.
The 1960s were a vibrant time in America when we elected the young John F. Kennedy as the 35th President of the United States and celebrated putting the first man on the moon as the decade drew to a close. This was an exciting time in the lives of Roy and Edna Fransen as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Barbara Jane on August 19, 1964.
Growing up, Barb was a typical young girl of her generation in many ways. She was raised in the family home in Wyoming, Michigan, alongside her siblings, Gordon, Donald, and David. Having three older brothers taught Barb to be tough, and she grew close to her siblings, especially David, who was closest to her in age. Barb’s father worked as a railroad engineer while her mother was a seamstress and cashier who also served her family as a homemaker. The Fransen family celebrated holidays with fireworks on the Fourth of July and huge Thanksgiving dinners. In addition, they enjoyed frequent trips to Lake Michigan and Cedar Point, and they also loved taking the Badger across Lake Michigan.
From a young age, Barb had a vivacious spirit. She liked taking ballet classes, running around with the neighborhood kids, and playing with Barbie dolls. Her first job was at Park Lanes in Wyoming. Barb once convinced her friend, Kim, to get a job picking radishes at a muck farm with her, but Barb ended up having to attend summer school and would drive past the muck farm while waving at a mud-covered Kim who ended up working the job alone!
Throughout her childhood, Barb attended local schools. She went to Parkview Elementary and Wyoming Park High School, graduating in 1982. Barb played golf in high school, and her teachers always said that she only went to school so that she could hang out with her friends. Following her graduation from high school she pursued her education at Ferris State University, where she studied arts. Barb then went on to earn her associate’s degree from Grand Rapids Community College before completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work at Grand Valley State University.
New and exciting changes were on the horizon for Barb as she met the man who would soon become the love of her life. His name was Flavio DaSilva, and the two first met while attending an “Interpersonal Communication” class at Grand Rapids Community College. At the time, Flavio was overseeing an adolescent treatment program at Wedgwood Christian Services. Barb and Flavio continued taking classes together at GRCC, and they both went on to earn their masters degrees at Grand Valley State University. Barb often said, “He chased me throughout college, and I finally caught him.” With a desire to spend the rest of their lives together, Barb and Flavio were married at the family home in East Grand Rapids on October 15, 2012. The newlyweds then spent their honeymoon cruising in the Caribbean before settling into their future.
All who knew Barb can surely agree that, of all the things she loved in life, she treasured her family above all else. Over the years she was overjoyed to welcome her two beloved children, Alex and Grace, into her heart and home. Barb thrived in her role as a mother, and her children were her greatest pride and joy. Holidays were spent as a family, and it’s when some of their most priceless family memories were made. Barb would help her mother on every Mother’s Day so her mother could enjoy the day as well. The family enjoyed countless trips across Michigan and exploring the Upper Peninsula, and they also took many memorable vacations to the Caribbean, Disney World, the Smoky Mountains, and anywhere close to the water. Barb always considered herself blessed to be surrounded by so many loved ones.
In order to support herself and her family, Barb put her master’s Degree in Social Work to good use. She provided mental health care through Cherry Health and Hope Network, as well as running a private practice of her own. In everything she did, Barb was extremely passionate about her work. She dedicated herself to serving each patient in every way she could, and she was devoted to bringing healing to her community. Barb also volunteered through Wedgwood Christian Services, mentoring kids in her own time for multiple years.
Never one to sit still for long, Barb pursued many hobbies in her free time. As a young adult she loved staying active by playing softball and golf. Barb had a talent for gardening and decorating, and she enjoyed making spaces look pretty. She was an amazing artist who was known for her creativity. Barb liked listening to music from Elton John, Billy Joel, and Queen. Cooking was one of her love languages, and her homemade chili, macaroni and cheese, and chicken noodle soup were beloved by many.
As her family and friends can surely attest, Barbara DaSilva truly understood the secret to a life well lived. She was a constant source of strength, even in the most difficult of times. A loving wife and mother, Barb was devoted to her family and was a friend to all she met. Her service to her community allowed her to touch the hearts of countless others. Though she will be dearly missed, Barb leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones will be proud to carry on in her footsteps.
Barbara Jane DaSilva, age 59, of Grand Rapids passed away unexpectedly in her home on Saturday, October 28, 2023. She was born in the summer of 1964 in Grand Rapids, MI to Roy and Edna [Burton] Fransen.
Barb is survived by her loving husband, Flavio DaSilva and her two children, Alex Kelley and Grace Kelley, mother Edna (Burton) Fransen, brothers Gordon Fransen and David (Teresa) Fransen, sister-in-law Karen (Dan) Laney, mother-in-law Alya DaSilva and sisters-in-laws, Lillian Da Silva, Shirley DaSilva, and Cynthia (Graeme) Dondale. Also surviving are nephews and nieces Erica (Austin) Woodman, Amber Laney, Jake Fransen, Jarrett VanderWilp.
Barb is preceded in death by her father, Roy Fransen and brother Donald Fransen.
She was a graduate of Wyoming Park High School and Grand Valley State University, and was well respected in her profession as a licensed Master Social Worker at Counseling Center of West Michigan and Cherry Health.
Barb will be fondly remembered for her dedication to emotional and mental healing as a therapist, her quick wit, her bright outlook on life, and warm smile. She will be cherished for her love and devotion to her husband and children
Barbara’s Memorial Service will take place on Saturday, November 4, 2023 at 2 PM at Grace Fellowship Church, (735 Buth Dr. NE, Comstock Park, MI 49321). Friends are invited to visit with family prior to the service at church beginning at 12 noon and are invited to a reception following the service.
Contributions in her memory may be made to the Pine Rest Patient Assistance Fund, https://www.pinerest.org/foundation/ways-to-give/patient-assistance-fund/
Please visit www.heritagelifestory.com to submit a favorite memory or photo or to sign the guestbook.