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Barbara Gaines, 1937 - 2023
Mother, educator, adventurous spirit
December 12, 2023

Obituary and life story submitted by the family.

arbara J. Gaines, beloved mother, educator, and community leader, passed away peacefully on November 25, 2023, at the age of 86.
Barbara Gaines

Born in Jackson, Michigan, to Annabelle and Theodore (Ted) Claus, Barb was a lifelong learner and educator. She was graduated from Jackson High School, earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Michigan University, and furthered her education with a Master of Arts in Education from Michigan State University.

She was preceded in death by her parents and by her sister, Janice Schoenberger and her husband, Maurice Schoenberger, of East Lansing, Michigan.

Barb dedicated her life to fostering a love of learning in others. She served as a devoted teacher and school administrator for decades, impacting countless lives in the Ludington, Michigan and Brighton, Michigan school districts. Her dedication and passion for education were truly inspiring.

Beyond her professional achievements, Barb was a pillar of her community. She was actively involved in the local theater scene, both in Ludington and Oriental, North Carolina, where she retired. In her free time, she enjoyed the theater and the arts, reading, tennis, skiing, and sailing, demonstrating her love for adventure and lifelong learning. She was an extraordinary cook and loved entertaining her family and friends.

Barbara and her late husband Jim Barden at a Wake Forest football game in the early 2010s.

Above all, Barb cherished her family. She is survived by her three children, Julie Gaines (Larry Summers) of Oriental, NC, Ed Gaines (Diane) of Greensboro, NC, and Ted Gaines of Durham, NC, and three grandchildren, Elizabeth Foster (Arthur Gardiner) of Greensboro, Ross Gaines of Philadelphia, PA, and Jacob Gaines (Clarice) of Byron, MI.

Barb will be remembered for her warmth, kindness, intelligence, and unwavering dedication to her family, community, and education. She leaves behind a legacy of love, laughter, and learning that will continue to inspire those who knew her.

Barb at her Oriental home with grandson Ross Gaines, daughter Julie Gaines, and son Ted Gaines.

A Celebration of Life will be held on a future date in 2024.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations can be made in our mom’s memory to the Community Foundation for Mason County, with the Oriole Foundation Fund on the memo line, or online at The Mason County Community Foundation and designate the Oriole Foundation Fund as the recipient.

Posted Tuesday December 12, 2023 by Allison DeWeese

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