Wilson, Barbara J., Saginaw, Michigan


Barbara Jean Wilson (Nee Barbara Jean Reinig) was born in Saginaw, Michigan on January 1st, 1930 and passed away here peacefully June 26th, 2013. Our beloved mother, grandma, sister and friend was pre-deceased by her husband George Wilson in 2004 and daughter Janet Wilson in 2009. Barb’s daughters Jennifer Wilson (Gary Bissonnette) in Saginaw and Beth Wilson in Atlanta, Ga. survive her as well as her son Geordie Wilson (Anna Robles) of Saginaw. Grandson Zachary (Ninabeth) Frank and great-grandchildren Zoe and Jonah reside in Oviedo, Florida. Grandson Nathan (Saed) Frank lives in Atlanta, Ga. Son-in-law Bobby Lowery, granddaughter Trishna Wilson and great granddaughter Kaitlin Wilson live in Saginaw. Her brother Merrill Reinig died in 2004 and brother Jack (Karen) Reinig lives in Negaunee, Michigan. Sisters in law Annie (Bunt) Janczewski, Barb Reinig, and Jean Wilson live in the Saginaw area. Her brothers and sisters in law Bill and Nancy Damore, Jack Wilson, and Danny Janczewski predeceased her. Donna Quinnan, Barb’s best friend throughout their lives, steadfastly remains. Barb was an original Earth Mother/Scottish-American lass/Essential soul sister/Friend for life. Her incredible zest, compassionate kindness, courageous stands for justice, equality, and fair treatment for all were legendary. Barb could be the most down to earth person in the room, in the community or on the planet. She had radar for the real and Barb had a beautifully beamed bullshit detector. When Barb put her energies into civic and political affairs she helped mobilize unlikely participants. She empowered people throughout her eight decades. Barb helped organize the Saginaw County Health Dept. employees union and was elected president of the organization. She became one of the founders of the Underground Railroad in Saginaw. As Another Mother for Peace, Barb joined the anti-Vietnam war movement during the 1960’s. She got involved and helped initiate the Saginaw United Neighborhoods Association in the early 1970’s. An early and consistent protestor against the Midland Nuclear Power facility, Barb was never just interested in speaking truth to power; she loved to prevail on the right side of an issue. She became a lifelong supporter of Sister Ardeth Platte and Carole Gilbert, the Home for Peace and Justice, remaining committed to the local community of activists for social change. In the 1970’s Barb and her adopted big sister Bone Rabideau started going to City Council meetings and built their own compelling political network effective for many years. After raising her four small children on Park Street in the Emerson Elementary neighborhood she went back to work. Professionally, Barb started out as a secretary for the Saginaw Symphony, and then worked for many years in the Personnel department at Saginaw City Hall before going to the Saginaw County Health Department. She embodied the type of secretarial knack delivering ingenuity and professional gifts to truly make an office and institution what it can be. In the 1970’s she joined the staff at the inception of the innovative Fayette Street House facility for treating drug and alcohol addictions. Working with Paul Warriner, Barb flourished because she could organize the office, work with Fayette Street’s diverse clientele, commune and counsel with people who needed her, and never judge anyone who just wanted to be treated humanely with love. Over the years Barb Wilson connected with numerous women of all ages, nationalities and walks of life. By her openness, friendliness, forthrightness and confidence building guidance, Barb welcomed them like family members. They were attracted by Barb’s grace and compassion. No one listened to anyone’s concerns or woes the way Barb did. Over a glass of wine or cup of coffee, she had the manner of a mensch. Unwavering in how she paid attention, meandering in the way she unforgettably told a convoluted story that could branch out in several directions yet find its path home to hit the heart, Barbara never withheld her supportive smile, her generous laughter, or her aptly cogent thoughts. She was sincerely one of the nicest ladies of all time and it is difficult to imagine a world without her in it. Undoubtedly some of Barb’s toughest struggles came after her husband George Wilson died nine years ago. Fifty years diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, Barb’s physical limits now danced with memory loss. But she could still fashion clever quips that fooled you; her newly surrealistic linguistic collages made you laugh. Barb continued to delight everybody she met, walking a tightrope of missing words and concepts with the mastery of a daredevil who defied her diseases by some uncanny inner strength that radiated her Barbaralariousness. She’d held on after the deaths of many beloved family and friends, but you could count on Barb to be Barb right up until the end. When she could no longer get out of bed she whispered her appeal to Grandmas Jean Reinig and Isabel Wilson, and Grandma and Grandpa Louise and Carl Reinig like they were within her reach. They were there at the end of her life like at an earlier time when they’d all lived and loved together. As the last repository of the great family stories Barb will sail on with the dust blown sagas of yore. She lived fiercely and freshly. But her frailty in facing new days and fogginess on the re-telling of the old finally gave in. Barbara Wilson bravely and undauntedly entered the kingdom and province she deserved and earned. Whether she preserves in the mystery of the afterlife or persists in the profound stillness of death, Barb so emphatically came to live among us that one can surely be blessed to consider why we all shouldn’t live the same way. Barb’s family would like to thank the staff at Health Source and Edgewood Assisted Living who came to love our mom, as well as the many close friends who stood by her throughout her life. Barb lived and died true to her inner compass, relying on her heart to guide her along another road. Of course, she just wanted to give you a hug, a little kiss and tell you to take care and be sure to drive careful. If you decide to come to Barb Wilson’s memorial service at First Christian Church West, 5545 McCarty, at the corner of McCarty Road and Mannion in Saginaw Township at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 2, 2013 you will be welcome to share her memory and spirit. www.snowfuneralhome.net