Barbara Ann Wahl, 88, of Roseville, MN, passed away into the presence of her Lord and Savior on April 8, 2020. She was survived by her children, Sandra (Dee J.) Traudt, Susan (Dan) Johnson, and Jeffrey (Paulette) Wahl; Grandchildren, Andrea (Jason) Inouye, Naomi (Alan) Price, Sara (Aaron) Kangas, Benjamin Wahl, Eithan Wahl and Jason Wahl; great-grandchildren, Arthur Price and Loralei Inouye; Birth Siblings, Mike Allen, Tom Allen, Patty Shogren, Sandy Youngbauer. Preceded in death by parents, A. M. and Marie Holmes; husband Frank Wahl; daughter Carolyn Wahl.
Barbara was born on Nov.19,1931 as Barbara Ann Allen in Aberdeen SD. While still a young child, her mother married A. M. Holmes and her name became Barbara Ann Holmes. She loved to tell about how she got in trouble at school one day for writing “BAH” on one of her textbooks until she explained to the teacher that those were now her initials and not her feelings about the textbook. Affectionately known as Bobby Ann, she also spent many days living with her grandparents where her grandmother was instrumental in forming her love of books and imagination. Her family moved to Minot, ND, where she finished her growing up years. Her father worked for the newspaper, Minot Daily News, which influenced her love of writing and journalism. Active in high school and church youth groups, she made many lifelong friends. She graduated from high school, received a degree from Minot State Teachers College with emphasis in Journalism, and taught school in Kenmare, ND.
The next chapter in her life started with meeting, dating, and marrying a Nebraskan named Frank Wahl who was working in Minot for the USDA Soil Conservation Service. When they were married on Nov 1, 1952 in Minot, she had completed changing her name for the final time. She would laugh when telling others,”I moved from the beginning to the end of the alphabet while keeping the same sound. I started out as BAA, moved to BAH, and ended up with BAW.” She always loved words and wordplay. Soon they had their first daughter, Sandra. It was at this time they moved to the Wahl homestead just north of Gothenburg, NE, so Frank could take over the family farm.
A new chapter began by adjusting to being a farm wife with a young family of three daughters from growing up in towns. It was a big change, but one she took to with love of family and determination. One opportunity, that was new on the farm and enjoyed by all, was the big family garden. She was not totally new to gardening as her family had been involved with “Victory Gardens” during WWII, but the farm afforded a large plot to experiment with many types of vegetables over the years. Fresh green beans, sweet corn, and watermelon were among the family favorites. While on the farm, she continued making lifelong friends, being involved with teaching, VBS and bible studies at First Baptist of Gothenburg, writing columns for the Gothenburg Times newspaper about farm and family life, helping neighbors, teaching English to Hmong refugees, and even working in a local community restaurant. She also endured sadness and loss as her youngest daughter died at age 8, and said final earthly goodbyes to grandpa Ned and grandma Ann, who lived long productive lives, but meant a lot to her. She also saw the satisfying changes of daughters growing up and going off to college, while taking care of a young son, a latecomer but happy addition to the family.
The next chapter involved moving to several new towns as Frank left farming and returned to work with the Soil Conservation Service, which consisted of finishing a job in one location and moving to another. During this time she moved to Minden, NE, where she was active in the Evangelical Free Church and had jobs at the local library and the restaurant at Pioneer Village, a well known tourist stop. Then the family moved to Loup City, NE, where she continued to work in restaurants, and be active in church, this time at Arcadia Baptist Church. It was here she learned new skills with personal computers and used this with her love of words to help in the organization, publication, and programs for the centennial celebration for the Arcadia congregation. She was always proud of the accomplishment of moving from the typewriter to the computer age. During this time she was also visiting her daughters young families, the first grandkids, and raising her youngest son up to seeing him graduate high school and follow his older sisters to college in Minnesota. Then she would move again with her husband to Mullen NE in the Sandhills.
Sadness and loss then came again as her husband of 37 years lost a battle with cancer. During this time she learned new skills as a Health Aid, began taking care of her aging mother, and followed her children to Minnesota. After moving to Minnesota, she continued work as a Health Aid at Presbyterian Homes while taking care of and then saying goodbye to her mother. She continued to be involved in church life with many churches in the Twin Cities area, among them being Central Baptist, Shoreview Baptist, Salem Baptist (Gracepoint), Trinity Baptist (Lifepoint), Elmwood Evangelical Free Church in St. Anthony and Bethany Baptist in Roseville. She continued to use old skills and gain new ones by getting a job at Lillie Newspapers in New Brighton as an office manager, editor and column writer, returning to her roots in journalism and love of words. She used her time to volunteer with such endeavors as teaching ESL classes and as a chaplain’s assistant at Presbyterian homes. See also continued to make new friends and also researched, found, and reached out to her birth family, learning about her past and family in a new way. In fact, her most cherished times were always the moments she spent with family, especially holiday celebrations and family gatherings that brought her family together around her, taking interest and joy in her children’s, grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s lives and accomplishments. Her family will miss her presence as we look forward to seeing her again with our Lord and Savior.
Memorial service Monday, July 20th at 10:00 AM at BETHANY BAPTIST CHURCH; 2025 Skillman Avenue, Roseville, MN 55113.
Interment Saturday, July 25th at 11:00 AM at Gothenburg Cemetery, Gothenburg, Nebraska.
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