Obituary: Barbara Ruth Willard 1926-2018

Barbara Ruth Willard

Barbara Ruth Willard

Barbara Ruth (Hastings) Willard died on Monday, June 25, 2018, at her home in Cottonwood, Arizona, aged 91. She was born Aug. 11, 1926. in Battle Creek, Michigan. to Ralph Corwin Hastings and Anita Schueler.

Barbara graduated from Battle Creek Academy and enrolled for two years at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.

A trip to California to attend her older brother’s wedding brought her to Loma Linda, California. She decided to stay and it was there she met her lifelong love, Rodney Ellsworth Willard.

They married 70 years ago on June 7, 1948, at Loma Linda.

Barbara acquired her teaching credentials, taught in elementary school, started her family, moved from Loma Linda to Detroit (1956), then Dearborn, Michigan (1959), to Avondale Estates, Georgia (1963), to West Hartford, Connecticut (1966), to Redlands, California (1967), passed the test for her ham radio license in 1971, became a private pilot rated for single engine airplanes in 1973, and returned to college, earning her RN in nursing in 1976.

For many years she was a beloved school nurse for the Loma Linda Elementary School and Academy.

She was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist church.

An avid reader herself, Barbara not only taught all of her children to read before they entered 1st grade, but infected all of them with her enthusiasm.

In retirement, Barbara and Rodney moved from Redlands, California, to Cottonwood, Arizona, where Willard ancestors had pioneered the Verde Valley, and where Rodney had spent his childhood years.

His family connections to Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Clemenceau, Jerome, Camp Verde, Flagstaff, Prescott and Phoenix provided stories and frequent expeditions to historical spots that enlivened their days.

Barbara is survived by her husband, Rodney; children, Karen Willard, Keith Willard, Kathleen Willard, Kirk Willard, and their spouses; her brother, Ronald Hastings; and sister, Norma Huckaby; and eight grandchildren.

Information provided by survivors.

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