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Obituary | Barbara York, 86, of Lomira, WI

June 19, 2024 – Lomira, WI – Barbara York, 86, mother, teacher, accomplished traveler, arts aficionado, expert bridge player, and fancy nails enthusiast, died on the evening of June 15, 2024, due to complications from Parkinson’s Disease.

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The memory of the resident of Lomira, WI for over 50 years is honored by her son Jeff York in Chicago, IL, cousin Marlene Lunow in Princeton, WI, and many, many friends, relatives and former students. A mere 10 minutes with her likely left you laughing for nine of them. Once you met Barbara, you never forgot her. She was funny, smart, loved people, and engaging in the world around her.

 

Barbara was born to humble beginnings in Markesan, Wisconsin. Vincent and Florence Ahrens, second generation German immigrants, were her parents. An only child, Barb was also the first woman in her family to get a college education.

She gave birth to premature twin sons who became Wisconsin’s first babies to be saved by the medical advances of modern incubation. And she taught for 40 years, almost exclusively at Kewaskum High School. Barbara was beloved by the faculty and her students, earning her reputation as the funniest and most fearsome teacher in school. She may have only been 5’2” but her moniker as “The Little General” was born out of affection and her forthright manner.

 

Barbara visited Russia, China, South America, and Central America in her lifetime, all continents except Antarctica. (The winters in Wisconsin were cold enough already.) Barbara fished in Alaska, scaled the Great Wall of China, and almost went down in a biplane over Guatemala.

She attended concerts at the Wisconsin State Fair, took in many Broadway musicals, and read every Stephen King novel. Her love of the arts inspired her sons as Greg became the Emmy-winning costume designer for “The Young & the Restless,” while Jeff became a Chicago advertising executive and artist. She married three times and dated well into her 70’s too.

 

Yet, her joy-filled life saw its share of tragedy too. Her father committed suicide when she was 28. Her three marriages ended in divorce. And most tragically, Greg died from AIDS in 1995 when he was only 34.

Still, despite such heartbreak, Barbara York chose to dwell on the positive in life. She worked with prison self-help programs, stayed close to her college classmates all her life, and found joy in the simplest of pleasures, be it food, folks or singing along to Johnny Cash songs.

Barb loved “Gone with the Wind,” Robert Redford, Liz Taylor, Edgar Allan Poe, creamy coleslaw, Culver’s, Club 49, Bridge games, Southern Comfort Old Fashions, and hosting teacher parties. She loved people and often described her friends as the best in the world.

 

In her final years, Barbara was lost to dementia, but she was well looked after by the staff at Hope Nursing Home in Lomira, the expert hospice workers of St. Croix, and her close friend Joanne Bartz. All in all, Barbara York lived a vivid and amazing life, and as apropos for a teacher, she continually taught those she knew just how to make the most out of every day.

 

A visitation for Barbara York will be held at Trinity Methodist Church, 300 Church Street, Lomira, on Saturday, June 29, 2024, from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. Following visitation, there will be a brief service with Reverend Mulongo Mpoyo officiating. A celebration of her life will follow at Camelot Country Club (W192 WI-67, Lomira, WI – 53048) from 12 p.m. until 2 p.m.

 

In lieu of flowers or donations, please consider making a contribution in the name of Barbara York to the Parkinson’s Foundation at Parkinson.org

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Myrhum-Patten Funeral & Cremation Service has been entrusted with Barbara’s arrangements. Additional information and guest book can be found at www.myrhum-patten.com

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