Barbara Tatum White

Barbara Tatum White died on March 12, 2019, in a tragic accident in Costa Rica. She was 60 years young and spent her last days doing what she loved most - traveling to new countries, experiencing different cultures, exploring unique places and embarking on exciting adventures.
Barbara grew up in Austin, Texas, and began showing her sense of adventure at a young age. When she was just 5 years old, she climbed aboard her bicycle and was attempting a daredevil's feat when she crashed and broke her jaw. The doctors wired her jaw shut and removed her two front teeth, so she could eat through a straw.
A minor setback such as this would not deter her from a life of exploration, action and adventure. After high school, she attended Texas A&M University to study veterinary medicine.
She met her future husband, Brian, in May 1977, and they began a long courtship. Along the way, she decided to change her studies to pursue a degree in physical therapy. Her dedication to her education paid off when in the fall of 1978, she was accepted into an accelerated physical therapy program at the University of Texas Galveston Medical Branch.  
She graduated in August 1980, married Brian two weeks later, and together they set off on their Air Force adventure that would take them to five cities over the course of 20 years. In addition to their professions, the couple bought a ski boat and spent many, many happy days skiing on nearby Lake of the Ozarks.
In addition, Barbara began collecting dogs for the family, preferring to have at least three to four around the house. Oh, and she was gracious in letting Brian have his one cat.
In the summer of 1984, Barbara gave birth to her first son, Craig, in Omaha, Neb. She returned to work for one day before deciding to stay home with him and relish in the joy of raising him.  
Two years later, Barbara gave birth to her second son, Ross, at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Looking for a community of mothers, she founded a tight-knit group for playdates and excursions.  
Two years later, Barbara gave birth to her daughter, Leah, in San Antonio, Texas. With three small children in tow, Barbara spent many days at the base pool, teaching the children how to swim.
She imparted upon them her fearless sense of adventure; it's no wonder that at the age of 3, Leah gained permission to go off the diving boards like her big brothers by swimming the length of the pool by herself.  
In 1992, the family moved to Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., where they would remain for nearly 25 years. With the children now in school, Barbara returned to physical therapy, where she helped countless patients improve their physical abilities and regain independence.
As the children grew older and more independent, she re-engaged her passion for trying new things. She joined a women's book group that she truly loved and treasured - a group in which she made lifelong friends. She learned to play the harmonica and guitar, to belly dance and to speak Spanish with impressive fluency - so impressive, in fact, that she won a scholarship to do a six-week cultural immersion in Spain.
Shortly thereafter, she traveled to southern Mexico to study for an additional six weeks. During this trip, she solidified her love of Mexican food, which she believed is the world's best and most underrated cuisine. Upon her return, she became a certified Spanish Interpreter, expanding her ability to work with and serve at the University of New Mexico Hospital and increasing the positive impact she could have on her patients.
In 2016, she and Brian decided to retire in Conifer. With her newly found free time, she became incredibly active in her local community, joining Conifer Newcomers & Neighbors, participating in hiking, skiing, touring lunch bunch, garden club, bunko and two book groups, and founding Flick Chicks. She volunteered for the Newcomers Committee and was elected second vice president to coordinate the Spring Luncheon Committee, supporting her friends with her boundless energy and vivacious spirit.
She never met a stranger, and it wasn't uncommon for her to approach a friendly new face at a brewpub and chat about a taboo topic while enjoying a refreshingly hoppy IPA.
She traveled to Egypt, Morocco, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Russia, Italy, the Czech Republic, Turkey and more. She continued her passion for yoga, which she discovered in Albuquerque, by becoming a certified instructor and teaching classes.
She loved playing an active role in her children's lives and traveled frequently to California when her son was deployed to help with her grandchildren, Olivia and Jackson.
Barbara had just welcomed her newest grandbaby, Willem, into the family in October 2018 and loved the time she spent playing the ukulele for him. A recent addition to her long list of passions, Barbara quickly taught herself how to play the instrument with the help of her friends, and loved nothing more than to jam out and conduct impromptu sing-alongs, anytime, anyplace.   
Finally, Barbara was very, very proud of her children, their spouses and grandchildren. She loved who they had become and everything they have achieved.
Many, many people here in Conifer have reached out in support of the family, for which we are eternally grateful. They have shared stories of the ways that Barbara touched their lives and inspired them to live fully. Their stories have brought us to laughter and tears, and their fond remembrances have left us nodding along saying, "Yep, that sounds just like Barbara." Their support has been deeply touching. Thank you to all.
We take comfort in knowing she pursued her life with relentless passion, truly living each day she had on this earth.
She is survived by her husband, Brian, of 38 years; her three children, their spouses and grandchildren: Craig and Natalia with Olivia, and Jackson; Ross and Erin; Leah and Kalvin with Willem; in addition to her mother Ruth and her siblings Monte, Raymond, and Debo.
In lieu of flowers, Barbara would appreciate donations to or the American Red Cross.
Published in Canyon Courier on Apr. 24, 2019