Barbara Allen Dolphin (1928 - 2017)

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  • "You have my deepest sympathy. May good memories provide..."
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Barbara Jean Crane Allen Dolphin died on Sept. 16, 2017, in Utah, of dementia. Born in San Rafael, Calif., she "cut her first teeth" flying over San Francisco Bay in a biplane piloted by her father, Al Crane. During the depression, she often found refuge in her grandmother's boarding house in San Rafael. She studied occupational therapy at the University of Southern California. She married Jim Allen and raised three daughters, Virginia, Jill and Jane. Jim's work in public health gave them the opportunity to travel overseas.
Starting in 1960, they lived in Barbados, West Indies; Beirut, Lebanon; and Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. Barbara thrived in these expatriate communities, always playing bridge and joining the American Women's Club.
The family returned to the U.S. in 1970, when Jim took a job with the State of Alaska in Anchorage. Arriving in January with temperatures of -30 degrees, little sunlight and no experience with the cold, the transition was a little rough for Barbara. Over time, she grew to love Alaska. She and Jim hosted Barbara's mother, the floral artist Elizabeth Campbell, and helped in her work. Summer was a marathon of trips to beautiful spots in Alaska to find each flower in its fleeting prime. Elizabeth's dried flower collages were sold at the Artique gallery.
Barbara loved community events like Fur Rondy, the Miners & Trappers Ball and ushering for the repertory theater. After earning a social work degree from the University of Alaska, she was a vocational rehabilitation counselor for over 20 years. After she and Jim divorced, Barbara married Robert Dolphin in 1988. Bob was a veterinarian, bush pilot, gold miner and lover of all things Alaska. After Barbara retired, they lived first in California and then Utah, where daughters Jill and Virginia live. They ticked off many items on their bucket list, including a safari in Africa. Until Bob's death, they traveled each year to Kenai, Alaska, to fish and enjoy the summer with daughter Jane.
Barbara was a lifelong advocate for education, especially as a means of economic independence for women. She helped her children, and some of her grandchildren, attend college. She was a voracious collector, trolling garage and estate sales and auctions for that beautiful object she just had to own. She was active in the Colonial Dames.
Barbara is survived by her ex-husband; three daughters; and eight grandchildren.
Published in Anchorage Daily News from Oct. 4 to Oct. 5, 2017