July 30, 2012

Within a few brief months my eldest and youngest siblings, Victoria and Barbara have both died.  Youngest sibling Barbara is now “on another shore but in a greater light”.  Having died Saturday (7-28) after a long struggle since 2002 with Parkinson’s disease she joined eldest sibling Victoria who reached that “other shore” first on Christmas morning.  A memorial service for sister Barbara Corinne (Bartling) Frey will be held today (7/30) at 4:00 p.m at Overland Park Lutheran Church , Overland Park, KS.  Her remains will soon rest with those of son Mark and parents Victor and Dorothea Bartling at Our Redeemer cemetery in St. Louis, Mo.  A committal service is planed in the near future and will afford opportunity for Barbara’s extended families to gather in St. Louis to honor Barbara’s remembered and varied roles in their  lives. (See blog 1/2/2012 A SIBLINGS  CELEBRATORY REQUIEM:  BALANCING SADNESS AND GLADNESS)

Both of my sisters each in their own case were respected and beloved on my part. Barbara’s arrival in my childhood family is vividly remembered.  Father announced at evening mealtime that we had a new sister.  All five siblings, myself nine at the time, joined in a parade 10/19/1935 to the Concordia College campus to announce to my folk’s faculty colleagues and friends (as though they were unaware of Bartling birth prospects) that we had a new sister.  Barbara’s baptismal day is also keenly in memory.  Baptized at Bethany Lutheran Church in Milwaukee one of her sponsors was Alex Pfotenhauer, the oldest cousin in the Pfotenhauer line and a student at Concordia College Milwaukee.  Her baptism ceremony proved somewhat embarrassing to me as the baptismal party loitered at the front bench attempting to properly make the baptismal gown ready for presentation at the baptismal font. That baptismal gown  was created by my generation’s paternal grandmother Lucy (Brohm) Bartling  and subsequently worn at the baptisms of the Bartling extended family.  This baptismal gown was worn at the baptisms of my siblings and myself, my children, and my grandchildren.  Daughter Stephanie has this iconic baptismal gown in her guardianship. Her daughter Lucia , great-great-granddaughter of Lucia (Brohm) Bartling who fashioned the gown,  was the last to wear the gown at her christening.  A baptismal gown – symbolic of the grace given in baptism and the assurance given in baptism that those still on this “shore” and those “on another shore and in a greater light” share in their names “written in the Book of Life” in fellowship with The Communion of Saints..

Sister Barbara was a beautiful child and strikingly handsome in her mature years. She had a sharp intelligence, harbored her own opinions, and possessed a strong personally driven characteristic. She celebrated learning for herself and achieved academic success with both a bachelor and master degree. Barbara had a winsome smile and was always most receptive and  engaging with her brother Fritz.  She had an important positive imprint on my life. In our mature years when we met at yearly sibling reunions  engaging with my “baby” sister was most pleasurable.

My thanks to her children Ben and Jennifer who so faithfully and lovingly cared for my sister and their mother in her long enduring illness. Here, too, a word of gratitude to sister Elsie (Bartling) Meyer.  Elsie, my elder sibling, number three in line and myself fourth in line,  who considered Barbara to latest date as “my baby” –  and so it was over the years.  Meyers and Freys vacation and camping trips a yearly ritual. Here was joined a close Frey-Meyer parental and cousin relationship. Now sister Elsie, long used to engagement with her sisters Victoria and Barbara is now dependent for sibling  communication with sibling Fritz.

We anticipate joining extended family  in the rather near future as we honor Barbara’s memory and legacy.

Sibling Fritz

Published by profbartling1

Retired professor Concordia University, St. Paul, Mn. Taught mainly American History. Also taught in other areas of history, philosophy, and theology,


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