At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
A Charity of your choice
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Barbara Paauwe would agree that she loved life no matter what came her way. She was a strong woman who was never afraid to do what needed to be done, and her spirit of compassion accompanied everything she did. Barbara treasured her family and friends, and she loved being surrounded by their love. She lived to have fun, and her zest for life was contagious to all who were near. Life will never be the same without Barbara here, but she leaves behind a priceless legacy that her loved ones with proudly carry on in her footsteps.
The 1930s were a trying time for our nation. With the Great Depression crippling much of the world, there were few Americans who didn’t feel the strain. Even in these difficult years, there was joy to be found in the lives of Albert and Susan (Miedema) Bosch of Holland, Michigan, as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Barbara Jean on October 6. 1935. Barbara was the youngest of the three girls as she was joined in her family by her sisters, Ann, Pauline, and Angie.
Life wasn’t easy for Barbara growing up. Her family frequently moved as they recovered from the Great Depression, but Barbara was still able to experience many of the things she enjoyed. Generally a well-behaved child, she once got in trouble for picking tulips at the annual Tulip Time Festival! Always one to work hard, Barbara fully dedicated herself to her studies.
After graduating from Holland High School, Barbara was ready for all that life had in store. Since both of her sisters had gone to nursing school and she naturally had a giving spirit, Barbara also went to nursing school. She moved to Grand Rapids and lived with her sister while studying at Mercy Central School of Nursing. Once she graduated in 1956, Barb began working as an obstetrics nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital. She later moved to Booth Hospital, and while there she fell in love wit teaching at the hospital. This remained a passion of hers for the rest of her life.
New and exciting changes were in store for Barbara when she agreed to a blind date with Wesley “Wes” Paauwe that was set up by some friends. After dating for a time, she rearranged her career path, leaving the University of Minnesota so she could settle in the Grand Rapids area with her new husband. Deeply in love, they were married on April 28, 1962, at Sixth Reformed Church in Holland. After a honeymoon in the Pocono Mountains, the newlyweds settled into a home on the Southeast side of Grand Rapids. They rented for a time but later bought their own home. Together they welcomed two sons, Matt and Steve, into their hearts and home. Barbara was a loving and attentive mother who stayed home for a few years to focus on her young family. She was strict as a mother, but it allowed her to keep up on what her boys were doing. Once her sons were in school, Barb began working at Grand Valley Blood Bank, where she remained until retiring. She was an amazing cook who made a great lasagna and bran muffins. They moved to a home on the West Side and eventually joined Richmond Reformed Church.
There was always room for fun in the Paauwe family. For years they were busy every weekend with Wes' car racing as they attended regional events with SCAA. Barb became increasingly more involved in the regional organization for the SCCA including scheduling events as well as writing and distributing the newsletter. Keeping true to her nature, she held her ground when needed. Once their racing days ended, the family began camping. They started out in a borrowed tent and later purchased their own tent, upgraded a few times, and ended up with a motorhome. They often camped with their sons on weekends, but at times they took longer trips throughout the United States. Since she kept the budget, Barbara always knew what they could afford. She was also active at their church, Garfield Park Reformed Church, as she sang in the choir and did whatever else she could to help over the years.
Retirement suited Barb and Wes well. They fell in love with using their vacation time to spend time in Florida during the winter. In fact, Barb and Wes retired early, sold their home, and lived out of their motorhome as they could go where they wanted, when they wanted. They did travel, but their winters were often spent in Florida or in the Southwest while summers were spent back in Michigan. Their travels gave them the greatest stories to share as they made it to most of the 50 states. Since Barbara and Wes both loved people, they became campground hosts at state parks in Michigan, most often at Grand Haven, Holland, and Pentwater. They were also able to host at a day site on Lake Havasu, Arizona as well. Wes spent much of his time fishing while Barb spent her time on the teach, playing solitaire, or reading. Perhaps Barb’s favorite places to camp were Pentwater and St. Augustine, Florida. No matter where they were, she and her husband always checked in with family back home on Sundays. When camping in Michigan during the summer, they often had their oldest granddaughter, Stephanie, and Barb was an amazing role model and teacher for her and all of her grandkids.
Everyone who knew Barb would agree that she was truly extraordinary. She was a bit strong willed, but she was always respectful, and never shied away from taking charge. Barbara was a planner who was always organized, but she also had a great sense of humor.
Since Barbara and Wes had always talked of having a home again, they returned home to Michigan in 2011 when her two sisters became ill. When her sisters passed away within a few months of one another, Barbara and Wes moved into her sisters’ home. Although they took a few more trips, their health limited what they could do. More recently Barbara needed the assistance of a wheelchair. It was such a blessing for all involved that Barbara had family nearby these past couple of years.
As her family and friends can attest, Barbara Paauwe was beautiful on the inside and out. She lived an adventurous life, but nothing beat sharing her amazing experiences with her loved ones. An inspiration to many, Barbara will be forever missed.
Barbara Jean Paauwe, age 83 of Walker, passed away on September 1, 2019. Many have met Barb through the years: she was a nurse at the Grand Valley Blood Center for many years, and then was campground host through the years at Grand Haven, Pentwater and Holland State Park. She was preceded in death by her sisters Ann Eastwood and Pauline Bosch, and grandson Logan Williams. Barb is survived by her husband of 56 years, Wes; children Matt and Steve (Tina) Paauwe; grandchildren Stephanie (Derek) Williams, Blake, Eric, and Brooklyn Paauwe and their mother, Carolyn Parrish; great grandson, Lucas; sister Angie Vincent; brother-in-law Douglas (Carol) Paauwe; and several nieces and nephews. The service to remember and celebrate Barb’s life will be held Thursday, September 5, 2019 at 11 AM at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home – 2120 Lake Michigan Drive NW where friends are invited to visit with her family on Wednesday from 6-8 PM and on Thursday from 10 AM until the service. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to a charity of your choice. To read more about Barb, to share a memory or photo, or to sign her guestbook, visit www.heritagelifestory.com