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Patricia, often known as Pat Ona (nee Rice) Barber was born on March 17, 1927 to Willard E. and Johanna (Johnson) Rice in Niagara Falls, NY.
Growing up, she spent a lot of time with her 4 siblings: Willard O., Thomas, Betty, and Bertha May. She was the last remainder of the four children. She holds a boundless gratitude to her brother Willard, who not only taught her to read, but created a love of reading to last a lifetime! She was an avid reader; especially a fan of suspenseful mystery fiction.
Patty, as known to her husband, Paul, graduated from Niagara Falls High School, then attended as a post graduate, Kelly’s School of Business.
She entered into eternal rest on January 25, 2024, at age 96. Her husband, Paul F. Barber, preceded her in their journey home by almost exactly 20 years.
Her children, whom she loved beyond measure, are Betty (Jim) Skrzypek, Becky (David) Steffen and Patty Barber-Gebbia. She also had a second daughter, Roberta Elaine. She has three wonderful grandchildren, JoAnna (Anthony) Destino, Phil Barber-Gebbia and Angel Steffen. Pat was blessed with her one great-grandchild, Aria Destino.
Grammie, as she was known to her grandchildren, always found the opportunity to listen, and encourage her grandkids. She was their favorite person, and confidant.
Pat was also a devoted daughter, sister and mother to her family members when their health was failing. She sacrificed for her family, and never stopped encouraging, and reminding them to be the best they could be, as their counselor, guide and friend.
Pat, was a woman ahead of her time; telling her three daughters, “never depend on a man for your money”, despite being happily married for 54 years, and the importance of having a college education! Due to her guidance, all three of her daughters have Master’s Degrees, her three grandchildren have Bachelor’s degrees, one grandchild with a Master’s Degree and all have successful careers.
Pat was also a fantastic seamstress who made her daughter’s skating costumes as well as Halloween costumes, curtains and chair covers. There was nothing that she could not sew. She would work for hours on the skating costumes after taking care of her family and her elderly father who lived with them after his wife had passed. She also expertly crocheted and made baby blankets and christening gowns for her great-grand children yet to be born. She wanted future generations to know her and to know that she loved them.
Pat, later, moved to Leesburg Florida for 10 years, where she made some wonderful, devoted friends: Christa Geiger, Sri Burton, Joan Didley and countless others. Living at the Plantation, a gated community, caused her to once more use her sewing & crocheting skills. Her groups made “Covers for Comfort” (tying and making quilts) for servicemen and children’s camps; the Bear Club, which made bears to comfort children in dire life situations and the quilted pouches to go in-back of wheelchairs for elderly and the sick. Chair Zumba was her favorite exercise routine at the Plantation, along with swimming in their pools, and enjoying desserts at Ya La Ha bakery in Leesburg with her best friend, Christa!
Pat, often, pulled her young children out of bed, on some very cold mornings, to go to Bethany Lutheran church by teaching them the importance of faith in our Lord. Whenever times were bad, she leaned on Him and taught her children to do the same. She often stated that she knew she was heading home to Christ Jesus, and kept Him in her heart always. We are sad today,that it will be some time, before we are able to see her again in our eternal home. We know that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit have guided her to heaven and she is now with her family.
After her 10 years in Florida, Pat returned home to New York where she spent time living with her daughters in Wheatfield, Lewiston and Brookhaven, Long Island. In addition to her charity clubs, Pat was a member of Calvary Lutheran, Bethany Lutheran and St John Lutheran Church.
Her visitation will be held on Sunday from 1-2 PM at the RHONEY FUNERAL HOME, 5893 Hoover Road, SANBORN, NY, with Services to follow at 2:00 PM with the Rev. Michael Borgsede officiating.
Donations made to the Niagara County SPCA in her honor, would be greatly appreciated.