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Barbara's Story

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Barbara Louise Toth Mathia, age 96, died peacefully and surrounded by family in her home at Rose Senior Living in Clinton Township on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. She grew up in the Delray neighborhood of Detroit, where she was born at home on Nov. 23, 1921.
After attending Southwestern High School, she attended business college and worked as a stenographer for several years before serving in World War II as a SPAR in the United States Coast Guard, stationed in San Francisco. Following the war, she continued serving her country by working as an executive secretary at the FBI.
On May 30, 1948 Barbara married her beloved Elmer Joseph Mathia at the Hungarian Reformed Church in Delray. Throughout her life, she remained a member of the church and was an active member of the Dorcas Guild for many years. Barbara volunteered extensively at Greenmead Historical Society in Livonia, where she loved to lead tours and coordinate weddings. She was also a volunteer helping elementary students improve their reading skills.
She was a talented artist, seamstress, quilter and baker. She enjoyed taking painting and craft classes in her younger years. Her paintings adorn many homes. She enjoyed reading, working crossword puzzles and loved playing cards and dice with her family and friends.
After living the majority of their married life in the Detroit area, Barbara and Elmer moved to Traverse City in 2001, where they had vacationed for over 50 years.
Barbara was passionate about her children and grandchildren. She is survived by four children and their spouses, David Mathia (Faye), of Traverse City, Joseph Mathia (Cathy), of Dallas, Texas, Dr. Lynn Mathia (Ron Woodall), of Mount Clemens, and Leigh Brownley (Doug), of Byron Center. Barbara is also survived by six grandchildren, Kyle Brownley, Hallie Mathia, Matthew Oztalay (Monica Riese), Cloe Mathia, Ben Oztalay and Cheyenne Woodall.
She was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 68 years, Elmer Joseph Mathia, in 2015; and two granddaughters, Monica and Kimberly Mathia.
A celebration of life will be held this summer on a date to be announced.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in Barbara's name to Penrickton Center for Blind Children, 26530 Eureka Road, Taylor, MI 48180; or the charitable organization of your choice.
Published on January 21, 2018
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