Barbara Dwyer Shurtleff, 94, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at River Pointe Retirement Home in Evansville, Indiana. She was surrounded by her family. Her belief in God and her strong Catholic faith guided her throughout her life.
Barbara was born on January 17, 1926 in Peoria, Illinois, the daughter of Edward and Margaret Dwyer. She attended St. Bernard's grade school and Peoria High School. After graduating from high school, she attended Bradley University and the Wisconsin College of Music. On May 12, 1951, Barbara married Flavel Hill Shurtleff in St. Bernard's church in Peoria, Illinois.
Her beloved husband Flavel passed away in 1998. Her brother Ed Dwyer predeceased her by only two months. She is survived by four loving children: David Shurtleff (Diane) of Wheaton, Illinois; Cynthia Wilke (Hans) of Hofheim, Germany; Margaret Kimmel (Thomas) of Evansville, Indiana and George Shurtleff of Lombard, Illinois; five grandchildren: Nathaniel Shurtleff, Elizabeth Weber (Stephan), and Amalie, JJ and Anna-Sophie Wilke; niece Molly (Jim) Connor of Lake Zurich, Illinois; nephews Peter (Dorothy) Cleaves of Austin, Texas, Richard Cleaves of Louisville, Kentucky, and Mike Dwyer of Peoria, Illinois.
In the 1940s and 50s, Barbara was a popular radio personality in Peoria. She was the Women's Director of WMBD, hosting various radio programs, including a Saturday morning talk show with Flavel. She continued her radio work after the family moved to Batavia, New York. When the family returned to the Midwest, Barbara branched out into print journalism, writing a wonderful column for the suburban Chicago Tribune about things to do and see in the Chicago area.
Throughout her life, Barbara volunteered tirelessly for her church and community, in her children's schools, with the girl scouts, and for 4H projects. After Flavel's retirement and their move to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, Barbara produced and moderated style shows to raise money for Potter's Clay Ministries. She was a popular tour guide at the historic Hot Springs bath houses, putting her marvelous narration skills to good use and enthralling visitors with tales of the spa town in its heyday. Barbara was an outstanding bridge player and loved golf, theater and her family – but family first!
Barbara was a wonderful and memorable person. She was smart, funny, curious, and listened to friends and family. She was truly interested in their lives and problems. Barbara loved to travel. She and Flavel spent many happy years touring the United States with their trailer. She enjoyed visiting family and friends throughout the United States, in Europe and Mexico. She was an excellent and fearless driver and often drove the hundreds of miles alone to visit her sons in the Chicago area and her daughter in Evansville. Barbara was a magnificent grandmother. Her grandchildren adored her and they cherish their memories of her. A lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs, she made sure that everyone in her family knew how to keep a box score. Their 2016 World Series win was one of the highlights of her later years.
Barbara donated her body to the Genesis Whole Body Donation program at the Medical Education and Research Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. At a later date, there will be a memorial mass and service to celebrate her life.
Memorial contributions may be made to Potter's Clay Ministries, 110 Crescent Avenue, Hot Springs, AR 71901.
Friends may sign the online guestbook or send condolences at www.wrightandsalmon.com
Published by Chicago Tribune on Jan. 17, 2021.