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2161 Leonard Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
St. Ann's Home
2161 Leonard St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
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Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Mary Barbara “Barb” Spalding, it is easy to see that she lived to love and serve others. She was gracious, giving, and selfless when it came to all who were near. It was easy to see that Barb was married to the love of her life, and together they witnessed their family tree blossom to include the numerous branches of loved ones who made her so very proud. Although she will be dearly missed, Barb’s family and friends will forever cherish the memories they created together.
The 1920s were an exciting time in America when radios, motion pictures in both color and sound, and cars that were mass produced on assembly lines became a part of the cultural fabric of our nation. This was also a time of great excitement in the lives of Francis L. and Mary F. Jastifer as they announced the birth of the baby girl they named Mary Barbara on February 28, 1926, in Parnell, Michigan. Raised out in the country, she was the oldest of four as she was joined in her family by her brothers, Clayton and Lawrence, and her sister, Teresa. As the Great Depression covered our nation throughout the 1930s, the Jastifers struggled to make ends meet, surviving on staples like peanut butter and potatoes. As the oldest, Barb helped with both the household and the farm chores, and she also helped care for her younger siblings. She attended schools locally including a one-room schoolhouse during her earliest years. After graduating from high school at St Patrick's of Parnell, Barb took a job as a switchboard operator at Michigan Bell Telephone Company.
To get to and from work, Barb was given a ride by Al and Peg Kolsinsky as they were driving to the car dealership he worked at, Burkholder Chevrolet, in downtown Grand Rapids. At times Barb came into the dealership to wait to head for home, and while there she caught the eye of another Al, Al Spalding, who was a salesman there. With the approval of Al and Peg Kolsinski, the other Al begin to court Barb. The sweethearts eventually married on September 4 1948, at St Patrick's Church of Parnell Michigan.
The newlyweds initially rented a flat on the upper floor of a house on Warren Street on the East side of Grand Rapids where their first several children were born. In the mid-1950s they moved to a large farmhouse on East Leonard, outside of Grand Rapids. At first they lived on the second floor and rented out the first floor, but after a few years they took over the entire house. This place was quite an adventure since they raised chickens and geese, sometimes had peacocks on their land, and also boarded horses from the horse farm next door when they needed extra room.
In the early 1960s, Barb’s husband became part owner of the dealership, which moved to 28th Street in Wyoming. The family then moved to a home on Bellevue in Wyoming as well. Barb did all of the cooking for her husband and their eight children as their family had grown to include Patricia, Pamela, Albert, William, Rita, Marie, Mary, and Delores. Barb drove a station wagon to get the kids around but also to haul all the groceries home. Homemade meals started with a big kettle on the top of the stove, and a regular family meal was a ground beef dish with sliced potatoes, sliced carrots, and some celery that they called shipwreck, and it was often accompanied by He-Man salad. The family spent much of the summer at the family cottage on Turk Lake near Greenville. Barb’s husband and the kids caught plenty of fish when he came up on the weekends, and she stood for what seemed like hours frying fish on the stove. Since the cottage was isolated, her kids loved it when she drove them into Greenville to buy groceries and stop for an ice cream cone.
In addition to caring for her family, Barb kept busy in so many other ways. They traveled all over including to Hong Kong, Puerto Rico and Greece as well as several trips to Hawaii once her husband owned the dealership on his own. Both Barb and her husband were very active at church, and they also became involved with the cursillo movement. They also enjoyed square dancing and occasionally hosted square dances in the basement of their home on Bellevue. Once her husband sold the dealership in 1978, Barb and Al began wintering in Las Vegas where they enjoyed playing Baccarat and other games. Later on, she and Al became involved in Stephen Ministry and hospice even after Al retired, both in Michigan and in Las Vegas. They also took communion to shut-ins both in Michigan and in Las Vegas. In the late 1970s they sold their home on Bellevue and moved to a townhouse condominium. They also cherished spending time with their family and treasured their grandchildren.
In 1995, Barb was deeply saddened with the death of her beloved husband. She remained living in the condominium for about 10 years and later moved into assisted living at St. Ann’s Home. She moved in across the hall from her dear friend, Rosemarie, at the same time. They remained friends until Rosemarie’s death. Even while living at St. Ann’s, Barb continued humbly serving others by helping around the chapel, bringing water and a warm smile to patients in the memory care unit, and also welcoming new residents to St Ann’s. At times she went to visit residents, and she was deeply loved by both residents and staff at St. Ann’s.
All who knew Barbara Spalding would agree that she was truly beautiful on the inside and out. She lived a life of service from the time she was a young girl, her life a reflection of what it means to be a woman after God’s own heart. Dearly loved, Barb will be forever missed.
SPALDING, Mary Barbara “Barb” Spalding, aged 92, passed away on November 15, 2018. Barb was born to the late Francis L. and Mary F. Jastifer in Parnell, MI. She resided in Wyoming, Michigan, and was the wife of Albert D. Spalding Sr., who preceded her in death. She was a mother of eight children, a Hospice volunteer, a Stephen Minister, a member of St. John Vianney Parish and most recently resided at St. Ann’s Home in Grand Rapids. She was preceded in death by her parents and by her brothers, Clayton Jastifer and F. Lawrence Jastifer. Survivors include her children, Patricia M. (Keith) Emelander of Allegan, MI; Pamela J. Spalding of Bailey, N.C; Dr. Albert D. (Nancy) Spalding, Jr. of Grosse Pointe Woods, MI; William F. (Marsha) Spalding of Muskegon, MI; Rita A. (Michael) Franks of Ruston, LA; Marie M. (Denai Hawes) Spalding of Rincon, GA; Mary B. (Dr. Teresa Beck) Spalding of Grand Rapids, MI; Delores T. (Anthony) Rogers of Lansing, MI; twelve grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and her sister, Teresa Doege of Niceville, FL. The Memorial Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 AM on Saturday, December 1, 2018 in the chapel of St. Ann’s Home, 2161 Leonard St. NW. The family will receive visitors from 9:30 until Mass. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions in Barb’s memory may be made to Emmanuel Hospice or St. Ann’s Home-Elizabeth Place. Please visit www.lifestorynet.com