Former Healy resident Barbara Macfarlane, 83, took her final journey Oct. 3, 2017, in Sparks, Nevada. Barbara's journey started in 1934 in Marysville, California, on a dairy farm, with beloved cows, horses, and brothers and sisters. She was born to Arnold Bean and Iva Barker Bean, the youngest of five children. She is preceded in death by her brothers, Elden and Merle Bean; her sister, Geri Bean Lawson; and her partner for 26 years, John (Jack) Macfarlane. She is survived by her oldest brother, Norm Bean, of Palmer.
Barbara's travels started when she was still in grade school. She and her family would drive a herd of horses almost 100 miles from Marysville to Donner Lake during summers. She was a member of 4-H and worked the cattle circuit through high school, and the two-story milking barn was filled with purple and blue ribbons from the prizes the family won. She traveled to Alaska when she was 23 and drove a taxi in Anchorage for a year before returning to California to meet the love of her life at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Barb and Jack were married in 1960, and they brought a herd of cattle to Hawaii during their honeymoon. Her travels continued when they moved to Alaska in 1962. They moved to Healy in 1968 and started a hardware business in 1971. Barb was very active in the community, especially the educational system, serving as school administrator and on the school board. Barb supported the Healy Valley Lions Club and was an active Lions International member until her passing.
She believed travel was the best education she could give her children. The family adventures continued around the Pacific Rim, Europe and the United States. She taught her children that the world is a small place, and they should make friends everywhere. Barbara loved cruises on the Mississippi, Rhine and Danube rivers, and the Panama Canal. In 2011, she boarded the Queen Elizabeth in Australia and disembarked in England, traveling half the world.
Barb's favorite part of her job as a magistrate was marrying people. One time, during a 20-minute train stop in Healy, she did a quick marriage ceremony right there on the platform. If you wanted to get married on a property only accessible by snowmobile, no problem. She would get there. If you didn't want anyone to know you were getting married, no problem. She could keep a secret. She served as the magistrate in Healy from 1974-1981, and from 1981-1986 she was the magistrate in both Healy and Nenana.
For the past 10 years, she would climb in her RV to go see places and friends all across the United States. Her sense of adventure and fun with her big, generous heart will be missed by family and friends all over the world. She is survived by her daughters, Sheryl Jaffe, of Ludlow, Massachusetts, and Debbi Macfarlane Clayton, of Sparks, Nevada; and her son, Pat Macfarlane, of San Antonio, Texas; plus four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial life celebration will be held at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at the Bartley Ranch Western Heritage Interpretive Center in Reno, Nevada.
In remembrance of Barb's love for people, especially children, memorial contributions may be sent to the Rafiki Foundation, P.O. Box 1988, Eustis, FL 32727 or to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105.