Darlene Foster's Blog

Farewell to a Family Treasure

Posted on: January 16, 2014


Just before Christmas we lost a family treasure. My Great Aunt Barbara Reimann walked this earth for 95 full years. She was an amazing woman who inspired so many of us. She did not always have an easy life but she did not let that stop her. Her youthful vigour stayed with her until the end.

She was born Barbara Hoffman, the 10th child of a hardworking immigrant German family from Russia; my maternal grandmother’s younger sister.   The last of her generation, she survived 6 brothers and 6 sisters. A loving mother to four children, she doted on her nine grandchildren and twelve great-grandchildren. She was also dearly loved by numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. The incredible thing was that she remembered everyone’s name as well as their spouse and children’s names.

Great Aunt Barbara with my Granddaughter and Grandson-inlaw

Great Aunt Barbara with my Granddaughter and Grandson-in-law

Aunt Barbara was the stalwart head of our large family; without her we feel somewhat leaderless. With her, there were six generations alive in my immediate family.

She was determined, bold, fearless and committed. Nothing stopped her. She learned to swim at age 75, travelled to Australia and New Zealand to celebrate her 85th birthday and drove her own car until she was 93. She made the wedding fruit cake for my mom and for me and  my daughter used the same recipe for her wedding fruit ckae. She loved to cook, bake, quilt, sew, knit and crochet things for others. She always had something on the go. Everyone owns at least one fabulous afghan, sweater, quilt or tablecloth made by Aunt Barbara.

She loved to spend time with her many friends and family members sharing a cup of tea, (although she only drank hot water with lemon) telling stories or playing games. She was a champion scrabble player. She kept active bowling and floor curling up to the last year.  She celebrated her 95th birthday with a huge party. She had a walker but seldom used it.

A principled woman of strong faith, Aunt Barbara spoke her mind, was always ready to listen and to give out her sage advice. Even if she disapproved of your actions, you still knew she loved you. She handed out big, warm, hugs indiscriminately.

She was one in a million and I was so fortunate to have had her in my life.

Rest in peace Aunt Barbara. You are flying with the angles now and no doubt making sure they fly in formation. We love you.

Mom and Aunt Barbara, best pals

Mom and Aunt Barbara, best pals

50 Responses to "Farewell to a Family Treasure"

Dear Darlene, I was so sorry to read of your loss but what a remarkable woman.
I smiled when I read the part about flying with the angels (in formation).
Thinking of you, Barbara.

Thank you Barbara (a very good name).She always kept us on the straight and narrow.

This is the spirit I admire in the older generation. Thank you for sharing.

Thanks Diane. As they say, “They don’t make ’em like that any more.”

This is a lovely tribute to your great aunt. I am sure she would have loved it. RIP Auntie Barbara

Thanks so much. I do hope I did her justice.

Darlene—I am so sorry for your loss but so happy that you had this wonderful woman and example in your life for so many years. She sounds like the kind of woman that my own grandma was and I know what a joy she was to all around her. Thanks for sharing her with us.

Thanks Beth Ann. My own dear grandmother passed away at age 68. Aunt Barbara did a good job of stepping in and filling that gap for us. She was 10 years younger than Grandma. All strong women of that generation.

There is something about that generation of women that was very special. I hope our generation can carry on the same traditions and strength.

You’ve written a beautiful tribute, Darlene. Your precious memories of your great aunt will help you through the sad times.

Thanks Lynn. We consider ourselves lucky to have had her for so long.

Heartfelt sadness to hear of this. God’s strength and love enfolds you…I know He does.

A wonderful tribute to a loved aunt. Flying with the angels in formation makes me think she would insist on order. Ha ha. A heartwarming post.

Thanks so much. She would like order, especially her order. She was great!

Sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your “Treasure” with us.

Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoyed reading about our “treasure”.

What a beautiful celebration your great aunt’s life. You shared so many lovely memories about a gentle, loving and wise woman. I love to be around very sharp seniors. They have so much wisdom to impart and are far more open and accepting of life. You were very fortunate to have her in your life.

Thanks Patricia
I was indeeed very lucky to have her in my life. She was of sound mind and body until the end.

A heart-warming tribute to an amazing lady by an incredible author.

Thanks for those kind words Marion.

So sorry for the loss of your Great Auntie Barbara; she would have been proud to read your warm and wonderful tribute to her. It sounds like she was an amazing woman and the hub of the family – a real matriarch. Gone but not forgotten, and flying with the angels now.
RIP Barbara (a good, strong name) lol!

Thanks Barbara (it is a good,strong name) I’m sure she knew how much I thought of her. We had a lovely visit about 2 weeks before she passed away. She showed me pictures of her 95th birthday celebration.

What a wonderful legacy to leave behind, I’m sure she’ll be much missed but what a blessing to have had her in your life.

Thanks Lorna. She has left a us a wonderful legacy and we all learned so much from her.I have always said I wanted to be like her when I grew up (should that ever happen)

So sorry for your loss. How lucky you were to have such a wonderful blessing in your life.

Thanks so much. We certainly were blessed to have her for so long.

Your Great Aunt sounds like a lady I would have liked. 🙂 I think she’s playing angel-scrabble with an angel-friend of hers (because, by the sounds of her, she must make friends very easily!). 🙂

I know for a fact she would have loved you. I love the thought of her playing scrabble with an angel friend. Thanks for that thought.

What a darling! It’s grace to have someone like that in your life. Even in her picture, she radiates. ❤

Thanks for your kind words. She does radiate love and kindness, even in her picture.

Darlene, so sorry to hear of the loss of your Aunt. She sounds like a real firecracker, and to think she came down our way. She was obviously a woman who loved adventure and I would have loved to have met. What a wonderful tribute to such an amazing life and a dear lady.

She so loved her trip down under and especially enjoyed New Zealand. She found New Zealand to be more relaxing and loved the scenery and wildlife. She actually celebrated her 85th birthday in Australia.You would have loved her as you said, she was a real firecracker!

Type of person I would have liked to know. My condolences.

Thanks Carl. The two of you would have had a good laugh together, I just know it.

Gosh, I was all choked up reading this lovely obituary Darlene.

Your Great Aunts smile alone tells a wonderful story of a life lived to the fullest.


Thanks so much Dean. Her smile does tell her whole story. (I shed a few tears writing this too)

What a touching tribute to a wonderful woman Darlene!

Thanks Megan. How sweet of you to say so.

Darlene, I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounds like an amazing woman and such an inspiration for you and your family.

Thanks TBM. She was indeed an inspiration to so many of us. In some ways a woman ahead of her time.

What a beautiful woman, with a lovely smile. Her sweetness shows. Sorry for your loss, but I’m sure she is sharing the love with everyone in Heaven.

Thanks Holly. She has many special people to share her love with in Heaven.

Some people are irreplaceable. She will be missed!

So true. I can’t remember if you ever had a chance to meet her over the years. I know I shared many stories of her with you.

We should all live so well, all of our days. Thanks for sharing this wonderful woman, I would have loved to know her. What an inspiration. I know she will be missed.

Thanks Patti. You would have loved her as all my friends who met her did.

Hi Darlene – Doreen just shared this post with me and thank you – I am so happy she was so special to YOU! I miss Mom everyday and am truly grateful that she was loved by so many – she really did make every day of her 95 years count and she was so happy for your last visit with her – hug cousin – it was a good day to get this — like getting another hug from my mom

I am so pleased you liked this post Maureen. Did you see how everyone choked up when they saw the afghan your mom saved for the reunion? She was so special to so many. It was wonderful to chat with you at the reunion. Sending hugs back. ❤

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