ASHTABULA — Being "Good with God: and always up for a new adventure, Barbara Jean Van Buren made the transition to the Heavenly plane on Wednesday, March 12, 2014, a month after receiving a cancer diagnosis.
She was born Jan. 18, 1936, to Marjorie and Richard Synenberg. Early on, she developed a deep need of family.
She dreamed of being a ballerina and never tired of seeing The Nutcracker. But in her mid-teens, Barb met the man who would steal her heart: Gene Van Buren. Her life-long desire to have family all around her over-rode her dream of dance and together she and Gene had 6 children.
When her youngest child was 11, Barb went back to school and got her high school degree; then graduated from Kent State University - Ashtabula and at age 44 became an RN. She began her career at Brown Memorial Hospital, where she became so beloved by patients and staff alike. She ended her career working with Dr. C. Kim. Her desire to help people through nursing inspired her daughter, Sandy, and her grandchildren, Ashley, Melissa, Ryan and Tracy to become nurses.
Always interested in people and places, Barb was an avid traveler. She added Egypt, The Great Wall of China, Eastern Europe and Vietnam to her list of favorite destinations.
God was both a mystery and fascination to her. She studied with various religions before being baptized at Here's Hope Church in Madison. She most recently attended Kingsville Baptist Church.
But always in the largest part of her heart was her family. She was always "in the know" about everyone, and she worried and prayed over each of them. And each has their stories about her. Generous with her love, each of her children felt they were her "favorite". It was a gift she gave to them.
With Gene's passing in 1998, her life took a different turn. And after several years, she became the "spoose" of Bob Wagner, a man of charm and wisdom, who idolized Barb. Their union lasted 4 years and ended when Bob died. One might be lucky ONE time to find someone they want to spend their life with. But, in Barb's life, her magic number was 3, when she became Bill Broughton's favorite girl. He held her hand and gave her his undying love until the end of her life.
Left behind to both mourn and celebrate Barb are her children, Gene (Jan) Van Buren, Cheryl (Jim) Reidl, Gary (Linda) Van Buren, Sandy (Bob) Fortune, Gregg Van Buren, Jeanette (Dave) McCracken and Jill Jones. (Her second son, Glenn preceded her in death in 2004); her sister, Karen (Larry) Betts; brother, Paul (Joan) Synenberg; sisters-in-law, Hazel Washburn and Eleanor Stillwell; and many nieces and nephews.
She was Grandma and Candy Grandma to Julie (Dave) McKinney, Tracy (Jon) Mead, Kelly (Chris) Knox, Melissa (Jose') Padila, Amanda, Shawn (Holly), Ron, Rob and Ryan (Samma) Van Buren, Trisha (Nick) Dovich, Jim and Joe (Kara) Reidl, Stephanie (B.O.B.) McCormack, Ashley, Bob and Kristen Fortune and Andy Green. She also has 21 great-grands and one great-grand to arrive soon.
Dying too young, she was an amazing woman who has left an amazing legacy of compassion and love of family.
A Memorial Service to honor the matriarch of this family and friend to so many will be Friday, April 4th, at 6 p.m., at the First Baptist Church of Kingsville, 6003 State Route 193, Kingsville, with Pastor David Hines officiating.
Donations may be made to the Ashtabula Animal Protective League, 5940 Green Road, Ashtabula, Ohio 44004, in Barb’s Name.
All Services have been provided by FLEMING & BILLMAN FUNERAL DIRECTORS AND CREMATORY, 526 W. Prospect Ave., Ashtabula. Guest book and obituary at fleming-billman.com and starbeacon.com.