My mother Janet Barkow, Ginny Doss as she was known as a girl, passed away at her home in Petaluma on August 11, 2012 at the age of 55 years old, just a few weeks before her 56th birthday. She was born and grew up in Petaluma. As a kid she loved to ride her bike. She told me she would spend the summers riding all over Petaluma. She would be out until the sun disappeared, but since it was the 60's, parents didn't worry. After high school she met my father, Steve, while attending SRJC. They started dating and were married in May of '78. They were then living in Utah, where I was born, and mom was at Brigham Young University studying to become a teacher. After a couple years, the family moved back to Petaluma and my sister Claire was born. Mom always knew she wanted two kids because she herself always wanted a sibling. Mom was happiest in her work when she became an instructional assistant, as she always wanted to work with kids. Later she worked at a collectibles store, which is where she met her best friend Ione Gareis. She always wanted a sibling, and in Ione she found the sister she never had. Eventually mom retired and was able to realize a lifelong dream of traveling. Hawaii was a place she went several times, twice for the annual "Sunset on the Beach" event marking the premier of Hawaii Five-O. This was so important to her not only because of her long time love of the show but, as she got sick, it was a benchmark for her, a way for her to say "I'm still here". The most important trip she took was to Australia. She had dreamt of one day going "down under", and in the summer of 2011, she made it a reality. This was the trip of a lifetime for mom and I know that the 20 days she spent there were some of the best and most meaningful of her life. She always loved the ocean, Bodega Head being one of her favorite places, and spent much of her time in Australia on the beach. Mom was so strong, so tough, the bravest woman I'll ever know. She did not let cancer call the shots. She was upbeat and positive through it all, always smiling and cracking jokes, often at her own expense. She said her sense of humor was her saving grace. She was generous to a fault and always there for us when we needed her most. I miss you momma. We all miss you momma, everyone you touched with your spirit and your smile misses you. But I know I will see you again, over the rainbow.
Published in the Press Democrat from September 8 to September 9, 2012