Barbara Jane Smith Erickson was born and raised in Ceredo, West Virginia on September 13, 1939. She graduated from Ceredo, Kenova High School in 1957. She then went on to Morehead State University where she graduated with her Bachelors in Education. Barbara worked her way through college by dipping homemade ice cream for the Austin family at Austin’s Dairy Bar in West Virginia. Her high school and college alumni continued to play an important role throughout her life.
Barbara and Eric met in 1960 at Johnny Kirk’s restaurant in Russellville, Ohio. She was new in town, and when Eric saw this “Barbie” and her beautiful blue eyes and long blonde hair, he had to say hello. She agreed to go on a date with him, and they dated for two years before marrying on December 28, 1962.
Barbara found joy in a number of activities. One of the many things Barbara enjoyed was skating. Her father taught her to roller skate at a very young age. She also enjoyed ice skating on friend’s ponds. Another activity that Barbara enjoyed was bowling, and she and her beloved Eric would often go bowling together. Barbara had a love for music, and in fact, she had minored in music while in college. She always had music playing in the kitchen. Whether she was cooking, baking or just relaxing, she did so to the sound and rhythm of music. Barbara attended many musicals and Barbershop performances, and her dear friend, Midge Denniston, had a brother who was part of a Barbershop Quartet.
When it came time to entertain, Barbara was always ready, no matter the time, day or night. Whether it was a birthday party, a dinner party or any number of occasions, she was ready and welcoming with open arms and warmth. Even if it was the middle of the night and Eric and his buddies would come in with a gunny sack full of frog legs, Barbara was ready. Another example of Barbara’s selflessness and welcoming heart was during cold snowy winters and the challenges they presented for nearby motorists who might have run off the road. For these occasions, she always kept a pot of coffee going and a kettle of hot water for tea and hot chocolate which provided comfort and calmness to those waiting to have their car pulled out of the ditch.
Barbara loved her home. She always had beautiful flower beds from which she would share fresh cut flowers with the church and friends. The beauty of these flowers was also on display in a gorgeous arrangement on her kitchen table. Speaking of Barbara’s kitchen table, this was always the center of friend and family gatherings. Whether it was dinner, game night or merely watching birds through the window, everyone gathered around Barbara’s kitchen table. Humans weren’t the only ones welcome at Barbara’s home. Her home was not complete without a few cats. She truly loved her cats and always took good care of them.
Baking was a joy to Barbara as well. She could whip up a pie crust like it was nothing. This love of baking led to her winning several baking contests. Every Easter weekend, she would look forward to baking for the church bake sale. If it was your birthday, no matter who you were, you were likely getting your favorite cake or pie made with love by Barbara.
If you couldn’t find Barb at home you might have checked for her at Lake Waynoka. When summer time came, she was always at the pool with her children, her friends and her friends’ children. During the winter months, she and Eric would play cards at the clubhouse on Friday nights. Lake Waynoka dances were also favorites of Barb and Eric.
Barbara was a wonderful friend. She and her friends formed a tight-knit group that did almost everything together. They would go on trips filled with laughter, creating the best of times and a lifetime of wonderful memories. When they weren’t off enjoying trips together, they were sure to visit each other often. These visits were always a good time as they sipped coffee around the table while talking.
Barbara’s sisters were more than just sisters; they were best friends. She and her sisters were always finding something to do or somewhere to go. They had fun, no matter what. They loved to dance and party, and whenever they went to a dance, it was all for one and one for all. Sitting or standing around was forbidden. There would be no wallflowers as they were all on the dance floor.
Barb was an active member of her community. She was involved in many community clubs and organizations. For example, Barbara was a member of the Presbyterian Women, Delta Kappa Gamma and the Eastern Star just to name a few.
Furthermore, as teacher, Barbara took great pride in her school and classroom. This is something that was a staple from her first days of teaching. Her first years of teaching were spent at Hamersville Elementary from 1960 to 1962. From there, Barb moved on to Ash Ridge Elementary in 1963, and she would stay there until retiring in 1994. As an educator, Barb spent many hours during the summer and after class cleaning her classroom, decorating bulletin boards and planning for the upcoming school year. One of her favorite school events to plan for was Right to Read Week. Barbara’s desire to help children learn and grow did not end with her retirement, however. She would work as a substitute teacher for several more years in both the Eastern Brown and Georgetown School Districts. Barbara greatly influenced and positively touched the hearts and minds of thousands of kids, leaving lasting impressions that former students still fondly remember today.
Barbara is survived by her loving husband, Eric Erickson; daughters Ingrid Rigdon (Tim), Kirsten Schweickart (Darin) and son Eric Austin Erickson; granddaughters Kris Erin, Kelly Dawn, Billie Jane, Emma Sue and great grandson Liam Edwin; brother Allen Smith and sister Mary Ruth Broomall.
She was preceded in death by parents, William and Alta Mae Smith; sister Emma (Snook), sister Pat and sister Doris.
Funeral services will be Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 11:00 AM at the Russellville Presbyterian Church under the direction of the Meeker Funeral Home. Burial will follow at the Linwood Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5:00 – 8:00 PM on Tuesday evening at the church with OES services at 7:45 PM.
During the funeral and visitation, face masks are required and social distancing rules will apply.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Queen City Hospice, 4605 Duke Dr, Suite 220, Mason, OH 45040.
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