Barbara's Story

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Barbara E. Ealy passed away at home with her family at her side on Friday, Aug. 4. Like many of her generation, she was born into the world of hardships that the great depression produced. Barbara was a farmer's daughter and was raised on a dairy farm on Stoneledge Lake in Cadillac. Her parents were the late Frederick and Lenora (Boyce) Rock. Growing up on the farm at this time was hard, so Barbara found joy in the simple things that country life could offer a farm girl. She enjoyed the world around her by swimming, gardening, exploring, climbing trees and ice skating on the lake. This simple life would not last, by the time Barb was ready for high school the world was engulfed in World War II, and like everyone else Barb had to make sacrifices. She became a nanny so she could have a place to stay in town because there were no buses to take her to school (gas was rationed). She also helped with the war effort by working part time as a "Rosie the riveter" at B.F. Goodrich in Cadillac, not making tires but de-icers for airplanes that were making the world safe for democracy.
After high school and World War II, Barb got on a bus for Grand Rapids, (her mother's idea) and from 1945-1948 she attended the Butterworth school of Nursing enrolled in the Nurse Cadet program. After nursing school, Barb took her first job as an RN at the Traverse City State Hospital. She was finally free to live her life, a life not burdened with the responsibility that came from the depression and World War II. It is here in Traverse City that she met her future husband on a blind date, the late Lewis H. Ealy Jr. They were married in 1950 and raised five children. In 1965, when her kids were old enough to be in school, she went back to work at Munson Medical Center as a dedicated orthopedic RN. She made many lifetime friends there. Barbara worked at Munson until retiring in 1990. And again just like many in her generation, retirement for Barb and Lew was not a time of sedentary living but was an active time. They built their dream home near Cedar.
She enjoyed playing golf, traveling, sewing, knitting, gardening, church activities, outings with friends, but mostly she loved and enjoyed spending time her family. She was a beautiful, kind, generous, caring woman and always had a smile. In her last days, she charmed her many caregivers by her cheerfulness and kindness.
Barbara will be missed dearly by all of her family and friends. Barbara was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Lew; sister, Cathy Olsen; and brothers, Frederick and George Lee (Victoria) Rock.
Surviving are her children, Jan Ealy, Lynn Ealy, Kim Steffes (Bill) Holland, Nan Ealy and Dana (Bob) Sholten; 10 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for Barbara will be held on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 at Church Of The Living God, with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. until the time of the service at 11 a.m. with Pastor Ted Smith officiating. A luncheon will be held immediately following the service at the church. A graveside service will take place following the luncheon at 2 p.m. at Grand Traverse Memorial Gardens.
Memorial contributions in Barbara's honor may be directed to Safe Harbor, P.O. Box 403, Traverse City, MI 49685, or The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park, 1490 Red Dr., Traverse City, MI 49684.
Please share a memory of Barbara by visiting her tribute page found at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services is serving the family.
Published on August 20, 2017
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