Barbara Frazer

Obituary of Barbara Frazer

STERLING – Barbara Grace (Nelms) Frazer passed away Saturday, January 12, 2019.

She was born on June 18, 1915, to Richard Pierce and Wilhemina (Carlquist) Nelms in Algona, Iowa. Along with her two sisters and a brother, she grew up on family farms in Iowa and Minnesota. She attended the first eight grades in a one-room country school, then completed high school in Chester, Iowa, graduating in 1932.

Choosing nursing as a profession, she attended the Sterling, Illinois, Public Hospital School of Nursing, which was affiliated with Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. After graduation, she worked as a registered nurse at Sterling Public Hospital, and later as a nurse-stewardess on the Union Pacific Railroad.  On August 4, 1940, Barbara married Charles R. Frazer of Sterling.

Barbara was active in the Sterling community throughout her life; typical of her efforts were teaching home nursing for the American Red Cross. Especially loving to work with children, she helped to organize and serve as president for a breakfast program for young school children, and for several years she was a leader in Brownies and Girl Scouts in Sterling.

A lifelong Methodist, Barbara was adult sponsor for a time, together with her husband, for the junior and senior high youth fellowships at Fourth Street Methodist Church. She also served as president of the Women’s Society of Christian Service and taught Sunday School for many years. In later years, she served as a lay speaker and enjoyed sharing her Christian faith by giving occasional sermons. She started each service with her favorite hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and to the end her chief goal was to be a blessing to others.

Her many interests included family, nature, writing, reading, crossword puzzles, Scrabble and horseback riding. A collection of her poems, stories, and sermons was published in 2003 as "One Sheaf of Wheat", and her poem “Bittersweet” appeared in the "American Anthology of Midwestern Poetry." After her husband, Charles, retired from the presidency of Frazer Manufacturing Company, they enjoyed traveling, including several trips to Europe.

Barbara was preceded in death by her husband of 53 years, two sisters, a brother, and a niece. She is survived by her children, Timothy (June) of Concord, NH, and Susan Salter (Cecil) of Carmel, Indiana, as well as seven grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews.

Barbara led an exemplary life, leaving behind many who will deeply feel her loss. They can take comfort in knowing that she looked forward to being reunited with loved ones who had gone before. She recently wrote, “I am going to join my tribe.”

A graveside burial will be attended by family on Saturday morning, January 19, 2019, at Oak Knoll Cemetery in Sterling. Visitation will be at Wesley Methodist Church in Sterling at 12 noon, with services to follow at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Sauk Valley Food bank, 1801 Plant Road, Sterling, or to Wesley United Methodist Church.