Cover photo for Virginia "Marie" Barber's Obituary
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1931 Virginia 2024

Virginia "Marie" Barber

December 3, 1931 — March 2, 2024

Virginia “Marie” Barber passed away peacefully at home on Saturday, March 2, 2024, at the age of 92, after a 5-year battle with dementia.  

Marie was born at home on December 3, 1931, in Detroit, MI, to James and Pearl (Foster) Ward. Marie grew up in Detroit, MI, until her high school years when the family relocated to Tennessee. Marie graduated from Adamsville High School in the spring of 1949 and in the fall of 1951 enrolled in Freed Hardeman College in Henderson, TN.  In her first year of college, she met and fell in love with fellow student J. Allen Barber. 

They were married on June 5, 1952, in Stantonville, TN. Marie & Allen began their married life together in Vernon, AL, where Allen began his church ministry. In Vernon, their daughters Faith and Hope were born. The next stop in their ministry took them to Ohio, where two more daughters, Leisa Love and Joy, were born.  In 1968 the family moved to Kalamazoo to work with the East Main Church of Christ where she remained a member. 

Marie was able to complete her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Education and Librarianship at Western Michigan University. Then, she went to work for Kalamazoo Public Schools as a teacher and librarian for 25 years before her retirement in 1995. After retirement, Marie and Allen spent the next 20 years wintering at their home in Sebring, FL. Marie was always active in their church ministry, teaching Sunday school to the children and also teaching many ladies bible classes.  Marie also helped her daughter, Hope, teach at the Horizons summer bible camp at Freed Hardeman University for many years. 

Marie’s happiest times were when she was spending time with her family. Marie loved her daughters, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren. She enjoyed cooking meals for the family on Sundays and special occasions. She never minded when friends or unexpected guests would be invited for dinner as there was always enough to go around.  Those family times will be forever lasting in our memories. Marie was an excellent seamstress; many late nights were spent at the sewing machine making dresses for her daughters and granddaughters.  In later years, she took up needlepoint. Marie was an avid reader, many nights she would be up late reading a book while rolling her hair up. When computers came out, you could find her catching up on emails late at night or playing games.

Marie is survived by her daughters, Faith Barber, Leisa Love Perry, Joy Barber, son-in-law, Donald Shull, grandchildren,  Melissa (Brian) Thompson, Jeremy (Melissa Sherfield) Perry, Justin Perry, Allen (Leah) Shull, Will (Allison) Shull, Molly (David) Meador, great-grandchildren, Tyler, Makayla, Leeland, Roland, Dekland, Clara, Philip, Adelyn, Avery, Isabella, David, Jubilee, step-great-grandchildren, Keith, Eli, and Dylan.

Marie was preceded in death by her parents, husband, daughter, Hope Shull, Son-in-law, Ron Perry, grandson, Nicholas Barber, sisters Margie Smith and Mary Louise Jones, and nephews Jonathan Smith and Timothy Smith.

The family wishes to thank Marie’s caregivers, Tiffany and Kiya, for their kind and compassionate care of Marie.

Memorial services will be at 11:30 am Saturday, March 9, 2024, at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 3926 S 9th St, Kalamazoo, MI 49009. Friends may gather from 10:00 AM until the time of service. 

To view Virginia” Marie” ’s personalized web page, please visit https://www.langelands.com


To send flowers to the family in memory of Virginia "Marie" Barber, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, March 9, 2024

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