Barbara Lynn Thornton passed away peacefully in her sleep on October 9, 2013 in her home. She was 67 years old & has been at home at Heritage Care in Mason City for 20 years.
A private graveside memorial service will be scheduled in the future for immediate family, when she will be buried at Clear Lake Cemetery. The family suggests memorials in Barbara's name to Heritage Care Center at 501 S. Kentucky, Mason City, IA 50401; the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Upper Midwest Chapter at 200 12th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55415 or firstname.lastname@example.org.; or the
(breast cancer research) Iowa chapter at P.O. box 8468, Des Moines, IA 50301 or www.komeniowa.org.
Barbara Lynn Thornton was born September 15, 1946, in New Haven, Connecticut, the daughter of Joseph and Frances (Briggs) Van Winkle. She graduated from Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa and Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and taught high school English in Des Moines and the Twin Cities. Barbara received her M.A. in speech communication completed course work toward her PhD from the University of Minnesota, where she taught speech, communication, and English as a second language (ESL). She continued to live in the Twin Cities area and worked as a management trainer and consultant in inter-cultural communication for many corporations, ending her career at the Minnesota Department of Transportation. After retirement, she returned to Des Moines, where she volunteered as an ESL teacher. In 1993, Barbara moved to Heritage Care Center in Mason City, Iowa.
Before her convalescence, Barbara was an adventurer & trainer/teacher, sharing her love of people, travel and nature with all she met. She delighted in beautiful colors, art, and photos and her love for Jesus, whom she "talked to all the time," as she recently told her sisters. Her indomitable spirit still shone as she composed a letter to her friends & family last spring embracing life outside her window, good food with her family, and accepting the unanswerable questions with grace & humor to the very end. She will be missed by all she met: God Speed, Dear Barbara!,
She is survived by sisters Patty Hansen & husband Bill/Dave of Clear Lake & Beverly Jacobsen of Yorba Linda, CA, and brother Joe Van Winkle & wife Jean of Des Moines. Nieces are Jennifer, Laura, & Emma & nephew Seth.
Ward-Van Slyke Colonial Chapel, 101 N. 4th St., Clear Lake, Ia 50428 (641)357-2193 ColonialChapels.com
Published in Des Moines Register on Oct. 13, 2013