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Born June 5, 1937 San Jose, CA - Passed April 6, 2023 Murphys, CA
Barbara Hall obit pic

Thursday night, April 6 saw the peaceful passing of Barbara Hall, a member of the Oakdale community for over half a century.

There were two parts to Mom’s life; the good and the painful.

Let’s get the hard part over with first.

When she was only three years old her own mother died unexpectedly leaving a little girl to spend her childhood being shuffled between foster homes and relatives who did what they could but with the hardships of the Great Depression that was seldom enough. She must’ve felt a kindred spirit with the stray animals that she was drawn to, but all too often, during the 13 different moves that she had to make before she was 10, those beloved pets were taken from her.

Falling in love and marrying young, she was once again dealt a horrible blow when a tragic accident left her widowed with two small children, one barely a baby, in her early 20’s. Her dear sister Betty, passed too soon after.

In her later years, when one should be relaxing and reflecting upon their lives, she found herself widowed for a second time when her husband Pete Hall passed away in 2009. It seemed that life’s cruelty was not finished with her. It had to hand her one more unbearable pain when the all too early loss of her beloved grandson Reed Welch devastated our entire family.

Had enough? Most people would have been destroyed by any one of these life crushing moments, but not Barbara. She didn’t just carry on, she succeeded.

In school she loved singing and was singled out for her beautiful natural gift. Any, and all who heard her sing over the years were amazed at her ability to imitate the big stars of her era. The miraculously mimicked voices of Kay Starr, and Patsy Cline were often heard, coming from our kitchen. She could make you smile with Doris Day and Que sera or cry with Nat King Cole’s smile though your heart is aching.

From Coyote Creek in San Jose, to the Stanislaus River, between Knights Ferry and the OBI, from the sea side of Santa Cruz to the coral reefs of Maui, she was drawn to the water. A strong swimmer she excelled at water skiing. Her prowess on a single ski at Lake Tahoe made her the star of our family’s home movies and she was still buzzing around on her JetSki into her late 40s. Those who knew her well would swear that she loved water so much that Coors made hundreds of silver cans full of it just for her.

If money was ever tight you would never have known it by her dining table. Homemade comfort food that never tasted like it was made on a budget was her specialty. No one was ever turned away and many a stray human, and otherwise found a full belly at Ma Barbs. Enchiladas, tamale pie, fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, and as I write this, I would bet that God in heaven is tasting a bowl of potato salad that will make him take his own name in vain.

The world loves to idolize the strong, stoic person who takes all the difficulties that life has to offer and bears them without complaint. Those who live outside the silver screen know all too well that, reality is quite different. Mom had her moments when all of it was just too much to take, and those of us who loved her ended up, living her sadness right alongside her. As difficult as all of it was, each and every one of us always knew full well that she would have laid down her life for us. She will be remembered, in sunshine and in the shadow and loved for all that she gave.

She is survived by her daughter Debra Dickerson, her sons Glen “Willie” Van ArtsDalen and Michael Hall, her grandchildren Rodney and Rachel Welch, Alyssa Dickerson and Alivia Steinburg Carnegie and Glen Hall and her great grandchildren Amitee Fellabaum and Reed Steinburg. We love you Faddie/Namu.

The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader

The Riverbank (Calif.) News

April 19, 2023