Barbara Ann Berghorst Newman was born Oct. 21, 1947, in Traverse City, Michigan, to Olga and John Berghorst. She passed peacefully, Jan. 26, 2018, at home in Winthrop, with her loving family at her side.
She grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan, and was a graduate of the University of Michigan. After a career in nursing, she went back to school at age 50 and became a physician’s assistant and soon had a reputation as “the best PA ever.”
She married John Newman in 1969 (a loving marriage of 48 years) and had two sons, Jeffrey and Jeremy, who became the center of her universe — as a result, she was easily voted Best Mom Ever.
Living in several communities, she made lifelong friends in Normal, Illinois, Trumbull, Connecticut, Yardley, Pennsylvania, and Asheville, North Carolina, before retiring in Winthrop in 2010 to be closer to her beloved granddaughters Ila and Cicely.
Barbara had a twinkle in her eyes, a cheerful smile, and a ready laugh. She instantly loved everyone, even people with imperfections.
She was well known for her enthusiastic, “can do” attitude that inspired many people to take on new adventures and challenges. In 2017 Barb organized a pack trip by horseback into the Pasayten Wilderness on the Canadian border for seven of her best friends — some who had never ridden before. Calling themselves the Dream Riders, most were over 70 years old, they had lots of fun and developed a very special bond with each other.
Barbara was highly skilled in several areas including quilting, sewing and furniture making, being well served by her amazing creativity and tenacity. She was bold and often said, “I don’t know how to do this, but I’ll find a way.”
She was a member of a small quilting group whose members met regularly and inspired each other with their art as they shared a feeling of support and trust in each other. Their theme song: You’ve got a friend.
Her family lovingly remarked that Barbara was never without a project or two. She would jump at any opportunity to share her time and talents.
Her community contributions included co-chairing the Home Tours several times for the Confluence Gallery, volunteering at Room One, and chairing the program committee for the Methow Valley Unitarians which was a big part of her life.
Barb also enjoyed skiing, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, kayaking, flower gardening and her dogs: Daisy, Molly, Charlie and Sproket.
Barb was caring and very generous. She created a sense of loving kindness with all people. She was very brave. She was a beautiful woman inside and out.
Barb is survived by her husband, John, sons Jeffrey and Jeremy, daughters-in-law Chelsea Newman and Allison Ciancibelli, and granddaughters Ila and Cicely Newman. She is preceded in death by her parents and brother Ronald Berghorst.
There will be a celebration of Barbara’s life on Saturday (Feb. 10) at 11 a.m. at the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Methow Valley Community School, PO Box 546, Twisp, WA 98856.