Barbara Jean "Barb" Twibell (Dean)
Barbara Jean Twibell, mother, business owner, school bus driver, hairdresser and author, passed away at a Seattle hospital Sunday, March 25, 2018 at the age of 77. Barb was born at Ft. Vancouver, WA, February 28, 1941, the daughter of Wallace E. and Violet M. (Whitstine) Dean.
Her father was an officer in the Army and Barbara moved frequently from Alabama, Vancouver, to her grandparents homestead at the Cape Horn area of the Columbia River Gorge east of Washougal, Des Moines and Olympia, WA. She attended three different high schools, Washougal, Rochester and graduated from North Thurston High Schools in 1959. She was a percussionist and had three different band uniforms in her closet to be ready for which ever school needed her. Barbara was awarded the John Phillip Souza Trophy for musical excellence in the percussion division. She also was awarded a scholarship to the Julliard School of Music in New York. Family circumstances prevented her from taking advantage of the scholarship. For periods of time she would play in the percussion section of the Portland, Oregon Symphony.
Barb attended hairdressers school in Tacoma and worked in salons in Olympia, Lacey and at the Tyee at Tumwater. After her marriage to Doug Twibell on June 8, 1963 in Tacoma and while he was attending the California College of Mortuary Science in Los Angeles, she attended advanced training at the Comer and Duran Hairdressing School in Hollywood. Through the years she would shift her occupational direction to driving school bus for the Olympia School District. She also attended extension classes of Central Washington University in Seattle to receive certification in driver education.
Her whole vocational life changed in 1980 when she and husband purchased Mills & Mills Funeral Service in Olympia. Barb established a Widow/Widower support group in Olympia and when their company joined forces with Olympic Funeral Home and Cemetery of Olympia and Tumwater, the concept of the support group was spread throughout corporate entity to funeral home from Olympia to
Chula Vista, CA. This kept she and her husband busy traveling through the company to nineteen different entities.
This changed once again in the early 1990s when the company was sold to a much larger funeral firm based out of Vancouver, BC. Barbara and Doug determined that it was time for a change and sought a smaller firm in a town we could know who we were talking to. In April 1994, the Gordon Peterson firm of Fern Hill Funeral Home was purchased, bringing along a son, Keith, making it what Barbara truly liked, a close family owned and operated funeral home.
Also through the years, Barbara was typing on a rather limited computer notebook, writing her thoughts and history of her time with her grandparents on the homestead on the Columbia River Gorge. The notes just kept growing and required a larger computer. Her aide, Betsy Seidel, said for her to just keep typing for you are writing a book. And eventually it was. “Daughter Of The Gorge” was published in 2003.
Barbara was a member of Immanuel Baptist Church, Hoquiam; The Rotary Club of Aberdeen and was a Paul Harris Fellow; she also was a honorary member of The Rotary Club of East Grays Harbor County Centential under the club classification as “Honorary Nobody”; facilitator of the Solos of Grays Harbor, a widow/widower support group; an honorary member of the Harbor Faith Riders; Chapter 36, Order of Eastern Star and the Order of Amaranth, both of Tumwater.
Her greatest joy was family, her boys and grandchildren. She had been a Cub Scout Den Leader when the boys were of that age. At one time she loved to ski and in fact that is how she met her husband. In 2001 she and her husband went in their Bayliner Explorer up the inside passage all the way to Skagway and back to home in Puget Sound. They travelled to Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Ephesus in 1988, by train throughout Switzerland, to Paris and Chunnel to London and another experience with the Phantom Of The Opera in 1997. They toured areas of China as representatives visiting not only the
usual sights but Chinese funeral homes. The also toured Ireland and Scotland, and have made several trips to visit Jerry and Gloria Brown at their home in Mexico. Their most frequent journey has been to Maui to their timeshare at Maui Sunset they have had for 30 years. Barbara really liked it there for there are no pretenses and just let it be really casual. In the last three years the pass time was trailering with close church friends, Kim and Gayanne Hjelden.
She is survived by her husband of 54 years, Doug, Aberdeen; two sons: Keith Lawrence and wife Heather Twibell, Cosmopolis and Paul Douglas Twibell, Alki Point, Seattle; five grandchildren: April, Amy, Abby, Joseph Douglas and Allie Twibell, all of Cosmopolis; and her grand doggie, Rusty.
The Twibell family would request that our community be truly aware of the warning signs of the onset of a stroke, F A S T:
Fast, face distortion
Arm, arm weakness, drooping
Speech, slurred speech
Time to call 911, NOW!