Barbara F. Holmgren
November 17, 1936 - May 20, 2020
Barbara passed away after a valiant struggle with stage 4 bladder cancer at her home in Oakland at the age of 83. Ever proud to be descended from Oregon and Idaho pioneer stock, she loved to hear how her parents, Rex and Gertrude Fones, drove through a central Oregon blizzard to Portland's St Vincent's Hospital where she was born. In the mid-nineteen forties Barbara's father, a federal employee, accepted a transfer to the General Services Administration office in San Francisco, where the Fones family settled into a spacious home near Pine Lake Park and Barbara was enrolled in Parkside Elementary School followed by Aptos Junior High School. A basic unfinished Abraham Lincoln High School was next where Barbara delighted in braving the miserable sunset weather to stand on the courtyard steps looking towards the ocean and singing the school anthem "High on a Hilltop". At this time Barbara's love for choir music took hold at Lakeshore Presbyterian Church and participation in a Job's Daughters Drill Team were favorite activities.
Immediately after graduating high school, Barbara was employed by PG&E as a statistical typist. Recognizing her intelligence, talent, and great work ethic, Barbara was chosen to attend the company-sponsored computer programming school, before retiring as a supervisor after 35 years with the company.
During this period, Barbara met and married John Egan, moved to Westlake and adopted a baby girl naming her Carol. Unfortunately, after thirteen years the marriage dissolved, and Barbara's inner strength and perseverance carried her through the next ten years as a single mother until she was introduced by a mutual friend to Don Holmgren. That introduction blossomed into a wonderful marriage of forty-five years.
Barbara and Don moved to Oakland's Montclair district where Barbara discovered the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley and immediately joined the Chancel Choir, proving to be one of the most gratifying experiences of her life. Spending summers with Don and extended family at Lion's Head Ranch in Cazadero, was another great pleasure and large part of Barbara's life.
Barbara is survived by her loving husband, Don Holmgren; her daughter, Carol Egan; stepdaughter, Debbie Holmgren and stepson Dan Holmgren; her grandsons Zak Martinot and Skyler Beaubien; and numerous nieces and nephews from both marriages. Barbara is predeceased by her sister, Audrey Dittman.
Barbara's family would like to sincerely thank her oncologist, Dr. Won Kim, MD; all the members of the Infusion Oncology & Hematology departments at Kaiser Oakland; and the Chancel Choir of Berkeley First Presbyterian Church, for all the love, kindness, and endless support given to Barbara during her battle with cancer.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from May 24 to May 31, 2020.