Barbara A. Keefer (Barnes)
Celebration of Life: Saturday, July 10, from 1 - 4 pm at FireRock Grill, 7177 Kalamazoo Ave. Caledonia, MI 49316
Cemetery: Apostolic Christian Church Cemetery
Memorials: Parkinson's Foundation,260 Jefferson Ave SE # 210, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 https://parkinsonswm.org/
Barbara A. Keefer (Barnes), aged 82, of Grand Rapids, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, June 21, 2021. Born September 16, 1938 in Detroit, she was the daughter of Alan and Lucy Barnes.
Barb spent 33 years working as a secretary in the Physical Education Department at Calvin University, a job she loved, both for the friendships she made among the faculty and for the daily interactions with the high spirited students. Over the years, she took the initiative to expand her contribution to the department, taking on tasks that included everything from organizing holiday celebrations and summer sports camps for children, to becoming the portrait photographer for the university’s sports teams.
If you were to ask for a description of Barb from anyone who had met her, "kind" and "caring" are words you would likely hear. When others were in pain or need, Barb was generous with her love and support, providing shelter in the storm during difficult times.
Despite her sweet, ladylike demeanor, Barb sometimes displayed a sense of humor that could best be described as sassy, which was made all the more fun because it caught you off guard. One of Barb’s regrets in life was not being born with a beautiful singing voice. This did not, however, prevent her from singing, much to the delight and gentle teasing of her family.
Barb found a more successful outlet for her artistic bent in her love of interior decorating and flower arranging. She had a wonderful eye for color and design, and was often the go-to person when someone was looking for decorating advice. She spent many years setting up at craft shows with her mother and daughter, and provided wedding decoration services under the name RBL Bridal.
As a grandmother, everything Barb did she did with flair. If she wasn't busy being her granddaughters' paparazzi, staging impromptu photo shoots, she was sharing her love of a good bargain. Barb even stepped up as an honorary dance coach, showing them a mean swing to Rockin’ Robin. She also introduced the girls to her infamous "coffee breaks," which never involved coffee but always included a caffeine free diet coke and a cookie the size of their heads.
During her twenty-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease and chronic pain, Barb displayed courage and grace. Instead of the common refrain of “Why me?” when things go wrong, she responded with “Why not me?” and would add that there were others suffering more than she was. Through it all, she continued to gift us with her beautiful smile and shared moments of joy.
In addition to her parents, Barb was preceded in death by her husband, David.
She will be lovingly remembered by her children, Randi Lou (Sam) Oesch, David A. Keefer; two grandchildren, Samantha Oesch, Jessica VanderMeulen; eight great grandchildren; sister, Bonnie (Gregory) Oliver; and many nieces and nephews.
Barb will also be missed by Ernie, a dog she adored, and a source of happiness and companionship in her later years; so much so that we finally gave up trying to talk her out of feeding him at the dinner table.
With her family gathered, Barb was laid to rest in Apostolic Christian Church Cemetery on June 24th; with Rev. Traci Parker officiating.
Friends and relatives are invited to a celebration of Barb’s life to be held on Saturday, July 10, from 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm at FireRock Grille, 7177 Kalamazoo Avenue, Caledonia, MI 49316.
Contributions in memory of Barb may be made to the Parkinson's Foundation.
STROO FUNERAL HOME
1095 68TH ST SE
GRAND RAPIDS, MI 49508