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Life Story / Obituary
Throughout her rich and rewarding life, Barbara Jeffries was a free spirited woman of independence whose graceful courage and quiet strength were truly inspirational. She was never concerned about the things of this world, rather, her focus was on loving those around her. The matriarch of her family, a more devoted mother would be hard to find, and things only got better when Barbara became a grandmother and later a great-grandmother as well. Blessed with a strong work ethic, she fully applied herself to whatever task was at hand whether in the workplace or in the world around her. Barbara was feisty and smart with a quick wit and just the right amount of spunk mixed in. The memories she leaves behind will be a lasting treasure in the hearts and lives of all who loved her deeply.
Although the 1930s were very much defined by the hardship of the Great Depression, there were glimpses where the American spirit could still be seen. The streets of New York were forever changed with the completions of both the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building, and it was also during this decade that the holiday season was off to a fantastic start with the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Amidst this eventful time was the year 1932 that was filled with great joy for a young couple from Niagara Falls, New York, as they announced the birth of their healthy baby girl on December 14th. Barbara Ethel was one of two children born to her parents, Newton C. and Ethel (Griffiths) Jones, and she was raised alongside her younger sister, Nancy Ellen. Her father had a Ph.D. and worked for DuPont while her mother was a homemaker after getting married. Barbara’s formative years were spent primarily in Niagara Falls, but when her father was transferred to different plants during the days of WWII during the early 1940s she lived in both Michigan and West Virginia for a time.
Even as a young girl Barbara faced both times of great joy and times of great trial. Their family was given a tough pill to swallow with the death of her father when she was only 15. Some of her favorite times were spent at the family cottage in Ohio that was built by her grandparents. Called Pen Bryn, Barbara treasured the times she spent there both as a child and as an adult. She attended local schools and discovered an interest in both drawing and interior design.
It was while attending Cornell University that Barbara met Joseph Jeffries III from New Jersey, a handsome young man who could play a mean piano. They fell in love, married and together welcomed Linda, Robert, Susan, and Jonathan into their hearts and homes.
Life was a bustle of activity in the Jeffries family. There was an unforgettable trip to the World’s Fair in 1965 with the entire family, and then there were also trips taken with her Aunt Helen. Who could forget the time that Barbara and Aunt Helen took Linda, Robert, and Jonathan to see Rosemary’s Baby at the drive-in. Summers found Barbara at Pen Bryn with her four children along with her sister-in-law, Judy Scheurich, and her three children. Both Joseph and Uncle Ronnie came for long weekends. Every Saturday morning during the summer Barbara and Judy would ship Susan, Jonathan, Michael, Jamie, and Suzanne off to the Putt-Putt golf course in town to spend the morning playing miniature golf while they enjoyed the peace and quiet. Back at home she was entertained by her children’s show of skits in the backyard starring Harry the Pizza Maker. These were memorable to say the least as she and the other adults all laughed and laughed until they cried. Barbara could seem a bit absent-minded at times such as when she forgot her drinks at the drive-thru and even misplaced her children at various sites in New York City including the World’s Fair and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other exciting times were when she took her four children to the community pool including the time that her daughter hopped out of the car to grab her towel, leaving the door open. When Barbara took her foot off the brake just a bit the car rolled backwards, ripping the car door right off its hinges! Needless to say, life was never boring when Barbara was around.
As her children got older, Barbara continued to delight in her family despite being deeply saddened with the death of her husband after 30 years of marriage. For several years she took annual trips to Broadway touring shows in Detroit with her daughter, Susan, at Christmas. She also took trips out to Colorado to see her daughter, Linda, and her family every year with the most interesting hotel stays while there. Barbara loved watching her family grow to include ten grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She enjoyed sending out holiday packages for days like Valentine’s Day and Halloween filled with things such as various treats, cool pencils, stencils, erasers, and paper pads. It was hard to know who loved these packages more - the recipient, or Barbara! She also made sure she was there to watch each one of her grandchildren graduate from high school and college.
Throughout her entire journey Barbara was always busy, busy, busy. She sold real estate for a time in her thirties, and she also worked in retail sales in Plymouth from the early seventies through the late nineties. She loved RV trips with her brother-in-law, Ronnie, and her sister, Nancy, where priceless memories were made. Nearly every Sunday Barbara watched the Lions, and she was an avid Tigers fan as well. While relaxing at home she enjoyed needlepoint, cross-stitch, and New York Times crossword puzzles. Rainy days at the cottage were perfect days for jigsaw puzzles. She was a member of various bridge clubs, a member of the Young Republican Club in the 1960s, and an avid reader who loved historical novels, mysteries, and thrillers including anything from Stephen King. Barbara was part of a swimming class where she made numerous friends, and even when she could no longer participate she still met them once a week for breakfast. She also spent a lot of time researching genealogy.
All who knew Barbara Jeffries would agree that she was truly extraordinary. She was smart and even a bit feisty at times, but only when it concerned things that she felt passionately about. Barbara wasn’t afraid to call it like she saw it, but everything she said and did was always deeply rooted in love. It was easy to see that her family was her greatest joy, and it will be her family who will carry on her timeless legacy.
Barbara Jeffries died on January 8, 2015. Barbara’s family includes her children, Linda Jo (Guy Elmendorf), Robert (Michele), Susan (William) Morris, and Jonathan (Linda); grandchildren, William (Kendra), Peter (Melanie), Jason (Moeisha), Rene (Josh), Brian (Stacey), Nicole, Christina (Jason), Grant (Kayla), Blake and Brandon (Stephanie); and six great-grandchildren. Barbara was preceded in death by her husband, Joseph III. Visitation will be held on Monday, 4-9 p.m. at Neely-Turowski Life Story Funeral Home 30200 Five Mile (Between Middlebelt and Merriman). Funeral Service Tuesday 1 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment Parkview Cemetery. You may sign the guestbook prior to arriving at the funeral home at www.TurowskiLifestory.com