Williams, Barbara Ellen
Barbara Ellen (Crombie) Williams began her eternal life with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on October 15, 2013. She simply slipped away peacefully from natural causes.
Barbara was born in Oshkosh, Wis. on May 25, 1943 to Emma and Lloyd "Pat" Crombie. She leaves behind her two sisters and soulmates, Carol (Ralph) Bollom of Oshkosh, and Mary (James) Wrage of
Pine River, Wis.; nieces and nephews, Tammi Reimer, Lori Lane, Cory Bullock and Amy Rodriguez, and Ty (Angel) Wrage, along with Tristan and Sarah, and Todd (Mia) Wrage along with Mason Hunter, plus her many great-nieces and nephews. She is further survived by her much loved cousins, Ernie Schmeisser of Georgetown, Tex. and Bill Sosinski, Las Vegas, Nv.
Barbara loved and will be greatly missed by dear friends; Tim Diederich of Schofield, Wis.; Sylvia Godin of Green Bay Wis.; Pam Engelmeier of Wausau and George and Kathy Sawall of Oshkosh. She will especially be missed by her "morning benchmate" Bernice who was treasured by Barb; plus her newest and dearest friends at The Rivers (Karen, Carroll (Noah), Dee, June, Ed, Dan, Barb (s), Marlene and Nancy, to name a few.
Though she was never blessed with children of her own, Barbara more than made up for it by acting as stepmother to the young children of her marriage to Robert Sawall Sr. (now deceased); Jean
(now deceased), Joan (special grandson Donnie), Ed, Dewey, Ben and Lynn. Bob Sawall introduced Barb to the Disabled American Veteran's organization and she became a Life Member in 1972.
When that marriage ended, Barbara married the love of her life, Edward R. Williams (now deceased) and helped to raise his teen-aged sons, Ernie and Edson Williams. It was through her marriage to Ed that Barbara moved up the ranks to serve as the State Commander of the Women's Auxilliary of the Disabled American Veterans for 1978 - 1979. In 1989, as a member of the Green Bay chapter of the D.A.V. she co-ordinated the creation of a D.A.V. cookbook that is still considered one of the best cookbooks published.
Barb lived in Wausau in the 1990's where she met a Kenyan family through her church. She helped the father, Dr. Oki Ooko-Ombaka, and their mother, Dr. Katini Nzau Ombaka, care for their three young children. Barbara fell in love with the children and acted as a surrogate mother to them. They called her "Malaika" which is Swahili for "Angel". Over the years, the children, Amandla, Akinyi, and James-Mark lost both of their parents, but before their mother died, she brought them to Barbara in Wisconsin. Since that moment, Barb's life revolved around them. Her devotion to them was complete. They brought her tremendous joy and fulfillment. She was extremely proud of them. Amandla graduated from Yale University and is now at Harvard Business school to further her
education. Akinyi is a Senior at Carthage College in Kenosha, and James-Mark just started at Ripon College this fall. The rest of our family loves them as well and will continue to help them realize their dreams.
Barb was a natural "caregiver" and began her nursing career in Oshkosh in 1966. She particularly enjoyed the psychiatric field of nursing and worked at Winnebago County Hospital, and then relocated to Green Bay and worked at Van Buren Hall. To the day she died, people called on her for her "nursing advice" and counsel. She kept confidences and respected the privacy of others. Her empathy for others knew no bounds. If you were her friend, you were blessed indeed. She loved others and accepted them unconditionally. She was charitable, open-hearted and gregarious to a fault.
Barbara was a "joiner". Besides the D.A.V., she was a past president of the Pine River HCE (Homemakers) and enjoyed helping the club to grow. She helped create a "Kid's Corner" at the HCE Holiday
Fair event, held every November, which helped disadvantaged little ones to buy Christmas gifts for family members for 25 cents. This is still in practice today.
Barbara loved to cook and bake. She collected over 1,200 cookbooks. When helping to start a new church, The Saxeville Community Church, in Saxeville, Wis., Barb baked the Meet n' Greet coffee time goodies. She loved to bake the monthly Birthday Cake for the residents at The Rivers. Her buttercream frosting was simply the best. If you had the pleasure to sup at her table, you knew a truly kind and generous hostess. Such tender loving kindness is rare in this world and those who have had her in their lives will know how deeply she will be missed.
Barb was preceded in death by her parents; husband Ed Williams; and dearest friend Grace Froehlich. A celebration of Barb's life will be held the spring of 2014 and her cremains will be interred next to those of her husband's at King Veteran's Home and Hospital. Please direct any correspondence to Mary Wrage, W3498 County Road H, Pine River, WI 54965
May her soul rest in peace - May your sorrow fade with time - May you find happiness through memories - And treasure the time you had with her. She will be greatly missed, but her presence will never be far as we take time to remember her with love.
Fiss & Bills - Poklasny
Published in Oshkosh Northwestern on Nov. 3, 2013
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