Barbara Cushing Weinert
January 28, 1934 - March 5, 2013
Barbara Cushing Weinert died peacefully at Emerson House at Riverpointe in her chair listening to music Tuesday, March 5, 2013.
Barbara was born the second twin of Joseph Cushing and Beatrice Jaffe in Bronx, New York on January 28, 1934. Joe was an engineer in the U.S. Army; Beatrice a school teacher in Harlem. Barbara grew up in New York City until at the age of 9. Her mother died of tuberculosis at Bellevue Hospital in 1943 and Joe moved the girls to Arlington, Va. When Barbara was 13, her father's job required them to go overseas. He and the twins traveled by ship to Berlin where they lived among the war torn people and buildings. Barbara commuted by train to Murnau, Germany, just outside Munich in the Austrian Alps, where she lived in a dorm and attended high school. While living in Germany, she learned to ski at Garmisch and Zugspitze.
After graduating from high school, Barbara returned to New York City. When her father remarried, Barbara and her twin sister, Laurie, took The Union Pacific Railroad to Sun Valley, Id. There Barbara found work at the Roundhouse on Bald Mt. and the Trail Creek restaurant as a waitress and hostess.
At the age of 18, Barbara took a train to Seattle, Wash. where she attended The University of Washington. While going to school, she worked at The Evergreen Room, The Canadian Bank of Commerce and The Wilsonian Hotel. Barbara met Len Gerber; they married soon after and relocated to Astoria, Ore., where she worked at Colombia River Packers. During their short marriage, Len and Barbara traveled to the Riviera. Barbara returned to the Capital Hill area of Seattle where she worked for Hertz. She then met Ronald B. Weinert, an Air Force pilot and student at the University of Washington. Barbara and Ron married in 1958 at his parents' home in Lake City, Wash. Barbara and Ron moved to Houston, Texas, where Ron flew for the Texas Air National Guard. Barbara took classes at the University of Houston. Ron then took a job with West Coast Airlines and the Idaho Air National Guard and the couple moved to Boise, Id. In the summer of 1960, a son, Kirk was born and in the winter of 1962, a daughter, Heidi. Barbara and Ron divorced in 1974 but remained close friends until her death.
Barbara worked as a ski instructor at Bogus Basin for many years. Barbara was a beautiful skier. She taught Kirk and Heidi to love skiing. They spent almost every weekend at Bogus where Barbara said you could find God all around you, in the mountains, trees, frost, sunrises, sunsets and cold mountain air.
Barbara suffered from a terrible bi-polar disease through which she persevered, entering Boise State University; she studied psychology, statistics and education research. She did internships at the Idaho Correctional Institute Psychiatric Unit and with the 4th District Court Presentence Investigations. In 1976 she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and in 1977 she received her teaching degree. She was awarded The Wittenberg Fellowship and began her master's degree in special education. The struggle with her illness caused her to take many medications and go through many hospitalizations. Because of this, she dropped out of the program.
Running and poetry became mental rehabilitation for Barbara and she ran in many races including the Great Potato Marathon, Sawtooth Relay, Barber to Boise, Boise Front Trail Run and numerous Races to Robie Creek. Barbara won many running awards, competing well into her 60's.
As a single mother, Barbara guided her children from adolescence to adulthood, while putting up with a terrible illness. She encouraged them to work hard and pursue any dream they had. Barbara took positions with Volunteer Service to America for the BSU Adult Learning Center and the Idaho Commission for the Blind. At the learning center she was the volunteer coordinator, tutoring many students and instructing citizenship classes. She taught algebra and math classes for Hewlett Packard, Garden City Library, the Ada County Jail and the Retention Center in Canyon County.
Barbara loved nature and the outdoors. She loved to garden and she loved the quail. Barbara was involved in urban renewal and was a big supporter of downtown Boise. She made her case many times for preserving the Boise Foothills. She had a passion for social justice and was meticulous and orderly. She loved domestic arts, enjoyed baking, "artistically" and was very creative. She was definitely not a conventional thinker. She had a high interest in math and statistics. She loved physical activity, loved driving fast and fast cars. Barbara on occasion spoke and wrote in German.
Of all the things she had an interest in and a passion for, it was her family that meant the most. When she developed Parkinson's disease in 2007 she was forced out of her beloved home and into a nursing home where she was confined to a wheel chair. At this point she lived vicariously through her children, Kirk (Jamie) Weinert (Boise), Heidi (Byron) Stutzman (Buhl). She lived for her grandchildren, Morgan (Mike Kimball), Adam Weinert and Eva (Trent Craner). She was blessed to have met and briefly enjoyed the lives of two great granddaughters, Addison and Hadley Kimball.
Boise State University greatly influenced Barbara's life and was an integral part of her dreams and goals. Her childhood play of being a teacher became her life's work because of her journey at BSU. She said teaching was important to society and it helped her come to terms with her mental illness and become a contributing citizen. The university made a difference in her life.
A celebration of Barbara's life will be announced at a later date. Cremation is under the direction of Bowmen Funeral Home. The family suggests memorial donations be made to the Boise State Alumni Association to go towards scholarships.
We will all miss our mother and her eccentric, innovative thinking. We want to thank Eric Collet and his wonderful staff at Emerson House at Riverpointe and to Brock and Angie of XL Hospice for the exceptional, loving care you gave to our mother and grandmother. As Barbara would say, "I am well and good, all things considered."
The Green Bird
Down the River I go, wherever the water rushes. Between the two Shores' how I watch myself going downstream, at peace in all the beauty. I pass-what has been! Good bye, good bye. How pleasing to go when one remains in all.
Juan Ramon Jime`nez
Published in Idaho Statesman on Mar. 10, 2013
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