Barbara Louise Wiff, 89, Spring Valley, died peacefully surrounded by her family July 12, 2019, at Luther Mayo Hospital in Eau Claire. Barbara was first diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a progressive disease, in 2014, but she lived an active life until her last few days.
The funeral will be 2 p.m. Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at the New Centerville United Methodist Church. Visitation will be 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the church.
Barbara Turner was born Feb. 23, 1930 in Casey, Iowa, to William Herbert “Herb” and Elma Hermann Turner. She was the oldest of five children -- four girls and one boy. She graduated from high school in Casey, Iowa, and then taught in a country school for a short time before the family moved to Hammond, Wis.
She met Charles N. Wiff at a Methodist Youth Fellowship group. They were married Sept. 3, 1950 at the Hammond Methodist Church. To this union were born three sons: Roger, Maynard and James.
When her youngest son was completing grade school, Barbara took a job as a waitress to earn money for college tuition. She enrolled at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and earned first a Bachelor's degree in primary education and then a Master's in library science with a specialization in learning disabilities.
Barbara taught learning disabled children from 1974 to 1989 in the Spring Valley School District.
During that time, she was also active in United Methodist Women, was a Sunday school teacher and superintendent and worked with vacation Bible school at the New Centerville Church. She was a member of the Locust Grove Homemakers Club, volunteered with the Martell Rushers 4-H Club and was an active member in the Pierce County Farm Bureau women’s group.
While she was teaching, she and her husband and youngest son made several trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, both portaging in and flying into the wilderness for camping and fishing expeditions.
After retiring from 15 years of teaching, she and her husband traveled the United States and Canada from Florida to Alaska in their motorhome, making over 20 trips to Alaska. They volunteered as camp hosts for the Alaska State Park System for eight years in the summer. In the winter they volunteered for 10 years with NOMADS doing maintenance, construction, clean-up and sewing for various church projects in the southern U.S.
The couple also canoed rivers in Wisconsin and several rivers in Arkansas, including the White, the Buffalo and the Norfork.
Barbara won a Dairy Days cooking contest in Eau Claire in the 1960s and appeared on the Eau Claire television station. The prize was a clock, which she kept displayed in her home office for the rest of her life.
Up until she passed away, she was making book bags for UMW for disadvantaged youth.
Barbara was an avid organ player and reader. She enjoyed camping, canoeing, sewing, knitting, embroidery, photography and, most of all, her grandchildren.
She is survived by Charles, her husband of 69 years; three sons: Roger (Judith) of Spring Valley, Maynard (Sue) of Naples, Fla., and James (Pamela) of Cologne, Minn.; brother: Bill (Karen) Turner of Farmington, Minn.; sisters: Pat (Cleland) Cook of Yankton, S.D., and Joanne Fulsaas of Decora, Iowa; 15 grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.
Barbara was preceded in death by her parents and by her youngest sister, Connie Juen.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St. Jude's Children’s Hospital.