Barbra Eardley, 85, passed away peacefully on September 17, 2015, at Brookstone Village Assisted Living in the presence of her family. She was suffering from complications associated with COPD and CHF at the time of her death.
Barb was born on July 7, 1930, in Fairfield, Idaho, the fourth of five children of Carrol Wright Stewart and Metta Fern Lee Stewart. Barb tells the story that she was born prematurely because her mother was being chased home one day by a dog after visiting a friend.
Growing up in a family that farmed and ranched led Barb to the outdoors and a childhood running around as a tomboy. Barb talked a lot about Fairfield, and all the snow they received in winter. She spoke about fun times when she and her childhood pal Esther Simon Kevan would tie a sled with rope to the back of the milk man’s carriage, which was being pulled by four horses.
Barb also enjoyed reminiscing about the holidays and time spent with her siblings. Barb always found humor in the memory of Christmas when she was 10 years old. She and her siblings were snooping around the house for hidden Christmas presents a couple days prior to the 25th. They located the presents under a sheet behind their piano. They covered them back up after taking a good long peek. But Barb was feeling guilty and later told her mom and dad about her and the siblings finding the presents. So prior to Christmas her father C.W., along with help from his brother Milo and sister-in-law Edna, went to town and exchanged all of the gifts for other new gifts. On Christmas day Barb and her siblings got quite the surprise.
While attending high school in Fairfield Barb continued with some of her high jinks. Again she and her childhood friend Esther decided to set out for some fun. On this particular occasion the two of them decided to play hooky from school. They snuck out through the girl’s locker room window, and went to the ice cream shoppe. The owner of the shoppe called the high school principal. When mom and Esther returned to school the principal was waiting for them.
With tomboy Barb liking the outdoors, and being the daughter of a farmer and rancher, it was a good bet that she would choose to help out on the family farm. Barb earned her driver’s permit when she was 14 years old. After this C.W. taught her to drive a wheat truck. During harvest time Barb would do her share driving loads of wheat to the mill. And during World War II several of C.W.’s hired hands left to enlist in the war cause. So Barb worked quite a bit extra during this period to help out her father.
Barb enrolled at University of Idaho in 1948 to study education. Barb paid her way through school by continuing to drive a wheat truck each summer. She lived on campus at Forney Hall. Room and board was $38 a month. Total cost of tuition was $5,000. Barb graduated in 1952, and was offered a teaching position in Baker, Oregon, for $3,000 a year.
In 1952 she met Jim Eardley on a blind date in Baker. They didn’t hit it off initially. It was another 7 months before they met again. Over time they became quite close. Barb and Jim were married on August 9, 1953. Jim was the love of her life. After getting married Barb continued working from 1953-1955, serving as part-time administrative assistant for the school district, and later as a part-time bank vault teller.
In 1955 Jim accepted a position with the East Oregonian newspaper in Pendleton, Oregon. Barb didn’t want to stay in Pendleton, instead wanting to move back closer to her Stewart family in Idaho. Jim asked Barb to be patient, saying they would stay in Pendleton just a few years. They lived in Pendleton for the next 56 years until Jim’s passing in 2011.
Barb and Jim were blessed with two sons: Lance, born in March 1959, and Link, born in April 1961. Barb and Jim spent lots of time with their boys, attending to their many activities and team sports games. But Barb was more than a mom to Lance and Link, she was the neighborhood mom for many. The house where we lived sat on a large corner lot, and with that came a large side and back yard. The Eardley yard was deemed the playing field for all the neighborhood kids. House mom Barb took care of all us kids, and showed great patience when windows were broken, trees were cut down (it was in the middle of our football field), kids were skinned up, and shouting matches escalated.
Barb loved her yard, reading, watching TV, visiting with friends and family, and listening to music. (Her Frank Sinatra CD was frequently played.) She was a very good mom who took care of her family through thick and thin. We’ll miss you, Mom. Have a great time being with Dad again.
Survivors include her sister-in-law Linda Stewart; her two sons Lance (Carolyn) Eardley and Link (Pat) Eardley; her grandson TJ (Jennifer) and four great-grandkids Jaidyn, Caleb, Kelsee and Sienna; and numerous nephews and nieces. She was preceded in death by her mother Metta and father C.W.; husband Jim Eardley; her four siblings Bill, Bob, Leta Mae (Babe) and Steve (Buzz); her brother-in-law Dick and sister-in-law Pat; her brother-in-law Bill and sister-in-law Clara; and nephews Steve, Terry and Reed Stewart.
The family wants to extend a special thanks to the staff of Brookstone Village Assisted Living and XL Hospice. The employees of Brookstone Village, including owners Ralph and Lorraine, manager Dave, and the great staff including Jeanie, Kim, Marti, Ed, Eric, Rachel, Gloria, Michela, Rosa, Linda, Jessica, Paulette, Melissa, Mandy and Jasmine, you took such great care with our mom, you were like a second family to her, and we can’t thank you enough. And to the staff of XL Hospice, including Chonita, Susan, Shannon, Kelli, Vicki, Brock, Stephanie, Ross, Christina, Sara and Joyce, your care, compassion and kindness made our mom feel like she had you as friends rather than a caretaker. She enjoyed your visits and it meant the world to us to know she was in good hands.
A viewing will be held at Bowman Funeral Parlor, 10254 W. Carlton Bay Drive, Garden City, Idaho, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2015.
A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. on Friday, September 25, 2015, at Bowman Funeral Parlor. A graveside service will be at 12 noon on Saturday, September 26 at the Elmwood Cemetery, Gooding, Idaho.
Condolences to the family can be made at www.bowmanfuneral.com
In lieu of flowers the family suggest contributions be made in Barbra’s name to Veterans of Foreign Wars at www.vfwidaho.org.