1941 - 2013
Barbara F. Van Yserloo of Walla Walla died Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, at her home with her husband, Ron, by her side. She was 71. The Rosary will be recited Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, at 7 p.m. at Herring Groseclose Funeral Home, 315 W. Alder. A memorial funeral Mass will be on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013, at 10 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Church with Father Pat Kerst, celebrant.
Born Aug. 24, 1941, in Malone, N.Y., to Raymond and Dorothy Sullivan, Barbara was oldest of four girls. She graduated from Franklin Academy in Malone and received a degree in mathematics in 1964 from Potsdam State Teachers College, which is now the State University of New York at Potsdam. She married Ronald Van Yserloo on July 3, 1965, in Malone, N.Y.
After teaching high school and working at Xerox, Barbara joined in 1969 the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, where Ron was a medical student. Barbara worked as a computer programmer/data analyst and taught basic computer classes.
In 1976 Barbara and Ron and their three sons, Brian, Kevin and Michael, moved to Walla Walla, where Ron had accepted a position as an anesthesiologist at St. Mary Medical Center. Along with Ron, Barbara was a vital part of the medical community here with many devoted friends and associates. Meanwhile she and Ron were involved with their sons’ activities, including a stint as soccer coaches.
During her 37 years as a Walla Walla resident, Barbara served the community in a number of outstanding ways. Passionately devoted to the Birthright cause, she volunteered for 15 years in all, serving on the board, as board president, and then as co-director from 1999 to 2006. She also served on the board of Blue Mountain Community Foundation, helping the organization build a critical financial base. In addition, she volunteered as a docent for Carnegie Art Center.
Barbara, who loved music, played the clarinet with the Walla Walla Valley Bands as a member of the Concert Band and the Jazz Band. She also served on the board, led committees, secured resources on behalf of the organization, organized ticket sales and decorations for performances and “provided a dry wit that I greatly appreciated,” according to band director Ron McHenry. In 2010, Barbara played the clarinet for the Walla Walla Little Theatre production of the musical Into the Woods.
A member of St. Patrick’s Church, Barbara shared her joy of music with the congregation, singing alto with the choir and faithfully planning the music year after year.
Among her other interests were traveling, camping, photography and sewing, and she enjoyed the world of investments and finance, continually educating herself in this field. She loved her “Movie Club,” which she named, because it meant that good friends could be together once a week.
Barbara was a problem-solver who relished a challenge. If she could do a job, she would never pay to have someone else do it. Her husband remembers her taking the dashboard out of their car to replace a cable, taking the dishwasher apart and repairing it, and many other similar projects.
In addition to her husband, Barbara is survived by her sons and their spouses, Brian Van Yserloo and Joell Solan of Seattle, Kevin Van Yserloo and June Dershewitz of San Francisco and Michael Van Yserloo of Portland. She is survived by her sisters and brothers-in-law, Sandra and Thomas Sacco of Hibbing, Minn., Brenda and Frank Machabee of Malone, N.Y., and Wanda and Bill Nichols of Burke, N.Y. She will be especially remembered by her three granddaughters, Willa, Lucia, and Uma. On learning of her death, a close old friend and philosopher said, “Barbara was an elegant moment out of eternity.”
Memorial contributions may be made to the Walla Walla Valley Bands and Walla Walla Community Hospice through the funeral home. Friends and family are invited to sign the online guest book at www.herringgroseclose.com.