June 14, 2024 at 5:30 a.m.

Barbara (Fenwick) Simic

Simic
Simic

Barbara (Fenwick) Simic joined her husband, William, in heaven on June 2, 2024. She was 84. She was raised by mother, Dianna Wade and stepfather, Grant Wade, along with father, Lloyd Fenwick. She formerly resided in Arbor Vitae, before recently moving to Eagan, Minn.

Barb was born and raised in Nebraska, graduating from North Platte High School in 1957. Her childhood home was adjacent to the railroad tracks. She often referred to growing up on the wrong side of the tracks. Clever and ambitious, she worked hard to attend the University of Nebraska, where she joined the Delta Delta Delta sorority and earned a bachelor of science degree in elementary education.

Barb was a lifelong supporter of the arts. She loved participating in school, church, and community choirs. Gifted with a flair for the dramatic, she also loved theater. With a song in her heart and a smile on her face, she would bask in the glow of every compliment she received and return the praise with big panache and her trademark gracious nature.

Although Barb considered her family her most important job, other work experiences included teaching second grade, teaching typing and shorthand vocational classes, and working as an executive secretary for the IRS. Barb also worked for the Montana state legislature in multiple roles including secretary to the president of Montana State Senate and secretary to the lieutenant governor of Montana.

Barb met the love of her life on a blind date in college. Bill was studying to become a doctor and she was a student teacher. Sparks flew! It was a love that bloomed instantly, like a wildfire ignited by a single spark. This was not just a meeting of two hearts, but the collision of two destinies, forever altering the course of their lives. They married in 1962 and started their family of three daughters soon thereafter. In pursuit of Bill’s medical training and career, they moved to Sioux Falls, S.D.; Alma, Neb.; Browning, Mont.; Danville, Penn.; Helena, Mont.; Superior; and Minocqua/Arbor Vitae. 

Barb’s interests included playing bridge and tennis. She sewed an endless supply of clothes for her family and costumes for her grandchildren. Initiated in 1966, Barbara was a member of PEO for over 50 years. She loved antiques, big cars, flowers, and sunshine. Her kind-hearted spirit was particularly evident in her love for wildlife, hummingbirds, and everyone she encountered.

Barbara served others with a heartfelt focus on children. She volunteered to give children’s sermons at church, was a Sunday school teacher, and served on community children’s programs. She was an assistant coach for the high school tennis team and a mentor for disadvantaged girls at a local elementary school. While raising three young children of their own, she and Bill fostered two teenaged sisters, Suzi and Doti. She considered them part of her family from the start. She ceaselessly spoke of how grateful she was for all her blessings.

But most of all, Barb adored her grandchildren. Referring to them as her “bebes,” Barb played the part of grandma with unbridled enthusiasm. She sewed and stuffed the world’s largest Christmas stockings for them, guaranteeing lifetime devotion from all six of these adoring fans. Playing on the floor for hours, walking hand-in-hand at the zoo, jumping in the lake with a squeal of laughter, teaching them to ski and play tennis, and being an enthusiastic cheerleader at their activities; Barb embraced the role of grandma with her unrelenting cheerful spirit. This reciprocated love was a treasure, cherished and nurtured through every shared giggle and whispered secret.

A self-described “accessory queen,” Barbara loved to wear anything with bling, glitter, gold or rhinestones. And her collection of hats rivaled that of Jackie Kennedy. Her choice of fashion reflected her outgoing and playful personality. She rarely left the house without lipstick and a fashionable hat.

Barb was a sparkly social butterfly. Everywhere she fluttered, she’d leave a trail of friends touched by her charismatic charm. They say some people light up a room when they walk in; she lit up people’s lives. These weren’t friends who drifted away after life got too busy; Barb’s vast collection of friendships lasted forever.

Barb was preceded in death by her husband, William. She is survived by her daughters Karrie (Dan) Sherick, Jennifer (Eyal) Simic, Cyndie (Peter) Dietz and six grandchildren, Katie, Kyle, Taylor, Hunter, Ryan, and Logan. She is also survived by her sister, Elaine Heffner and sister-in-law, Margaret Langdale.

A memorial service to celebrate Barbara’s life will be held in Beatrice, Neb. where she will be laid to rest beside her “Bill Darling.” In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the endowment fund for the United Methodist Church of the Pines, PO Box 144, Minocqua, Wisconsin 54548.


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