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Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018
2:00 PM
Fernwood Cemetery
Mill Valley, CA
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Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018
1:00 PM
San Marino Community Church
San Marino, CA
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Barbara Blakeslee


1933 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Barbara Blakeslee Obituary
Barbara Hand Blakeslee

May 24, 1933-December 1, 2018

May 24, 1933 to December 1, 2018. Barbara Hand Blakeslee of San Rafael, California passed away peacefully at her home in the early morning December 1, 2018 surrounded by family and friends. Born to Dewey and Margaret Hand, Barbara was the fifth of five children, following Nancy, Carey, Andy and Henry, who have predeceased her. She grew up in South Pasadena and in High School, met her high school sweetheart, Willis C. Blakeslee. Barbara continued on to U.C. Berkeley where she joined the Pi Beta Phi house and was a member of an octet that entertained the USO, sororities and other campuses. She graduated with a double major in political science and history in 1955 while Willis received his civil engineering degree from Stanford. Soon thereafter, they were married and settled in San Marino where they raised their family.

A loving and ever supportive mother, Barbara enjoyed the best of joyful relationships with her children and whole extended family. Barbara was an avid tennis player. She played USTA Team Tennis, enjoying much success in local competitions and eventually making it to the Nationals in the "Super Seniors". From her tennis group, she developed many lifelong, wonderful friendships. Barbara was forever the good sport and happy leader for many a family adventure. The Blakeslees were active members of the Los Angeles Yacht Club, spending summer after summer on the family boat at Catalina Island. Willis and Barbara enjoyed bareboat cruises with yacht club members and each year, Barbara took her Pi Phi friends to Catalina for a week-long girls' trip. Over the years, Barbara enjoyed many international trips with family and friends and especially cherished her special trips with sister, Nancy Hirst.

After Willis's death in 2007, Barbara moved from San Marino to Pasadena with her much loved King Charles spaniel, Buster. She enjoyed a very active life as a member of the Valley Hunt Club, The Town Club, Bridge and Mahjong groups, two book clubs and as a volunteer for the Braille Institute and The Huntington. Upon hanging up her racket, she and her tennis buddies formed a tight knit group for theater-going and exploring the latest and the greatest of Los Angeles.

In 2016, Barbara moved to northern California so she could be near her daughter, Mimi and son-in-law, Steve. She landed the perfect sunny residence at Smith Ranch Homes and enjoyed two and a half years of a new founded happiness receiving loving care by her family and incredible caregivers. Barbara is survived by her son, Willis Brook Blakeslee (Caroline), her daughter, Mimi Blakeslee (Steve Fentress), her three grandchildren, Willis Matthew Blakeslee, Grant Howard Blakeslee and Madeline Crane Blakeslee, and numerous nephews and nieces.

Services will be held at Fernwood Cemetery in Mill Valley, CA on December 11, 2018 at 2 p.m. and at the San Marino Community Church in San Marino, CA on December 18, 2018 at 1 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Barbara H. Blakeslee may be made to the Huntington Botanical Gardens or the Braille Institute.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 9, 2018
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