Barbara Adell West Kiser
Barbara Adell West Kiser died in her home, surrounded by loved ones, on Sunday morning, September 8, 2019 of complications from COPD at the age of 86.
Barbara was born in Los Angeles, California on March 12, 1933, where she lived with her parents, Florence and Arlyn West, and her sister, Beverly. The family moved to Dyer, Nevada during World War II where Arlyn managed a dairy as part of the war effort. Barbara had fond memories of living on a ranch and attending a one-room schoolhouse. In the early summer of 1944, the family moved to Plover, WI where her parents purchased West’s Dairy; the leftover glass milk bottles still decorate the bookshelves of family members to this day. Barbara attended Roosevelt Grade School and graduated from P J Jacobs High School in Stevens Point. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Dental Hygiene from West Liberty College in West Liberty, West Virginia. She established a career in the field working for a dentist in Beckley, West Virginia. It was there that she met Alec Kiser while cleaning his teeth. When Barbara moved back to Wisconsin, Alec joined her, and they got married on March 5, 1959. Barbara and Alec then had two daughters, Beth and Meg.
Barbara was actively engaged in her community. She continued her work as a dental hygienist and worked for several local dental office. She was an involved member of the Plover United Methodist Church “The Springs” serving on many committees, directing the senior choir, and founding the junior choir. She gave insightful sermons as a lay leader at The Springs and guest pastor at neighboring community churches. She was a sixteen-year member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution – Stevens Point Chapter. She served as State Chaplain, chaired several committees, and was an involved member of her local chapter. Barbara had a special gift for writing words of comfort; her prayers and warm words are remembered by many.
Barbara fiercely believed in social justice and fighting for civil rights. She was on an early JuniorWomen’s Club committee for the Tinsel Trail, which is celebrating its 48th year raising money to support the efforts of hundreds of non-profit organizations in the community. She continued this type of important work throughout her life. Barbara attended protests in 2011 opposing Wisconsin Act 10 and believed in the importance of public education. As the years wore on her, she continued to support the causes she believed in through letter-writing campaigns, charitable contributions, and participation in Safe Space training. She always strove to stay up-to-date on current events and understood the importance of issues facing society today. It was a rare occasion that you wouldn’t walk into her home to the sound of Wisconsin Public Radio. She was a light, icon, and role model to those around her.
Barbara also enjoyed nature’s simple beauties. She loved watching and identifying the birds that frequented the feeders on her deck. She always had beautiful flowers filling window boxes and garden beds, even when her health didn’t allow her to maintain them herself. She spent many summer months at the family cottage on Squaw Lake in Lac du Flambeau when her children were young and then later years at the cabin in Ignace, Ontario, Canada. Barbara had an eye for aesthetics and a fascination with history that led her to be a “collector of fine items,” and she owned an antique shop in Plover for a period. Wherever she went, Barbara would find unique shops with one-of-a-kind antiques. Barbara loved to travel and took many memorable trips with her daughters, grandchildren, husband, and sister. As a true Wisconsin patriot, she would say that after her travels to Europe and across the United States that she favored the country roads that led her home to Stevens Point.
Barbara is survived by her daughters, Beth (Eric Mansfield) of Madison, WI, Meg (Doug Blankschein) of Mt.Horeb, WI; grandchildren, Leah, Margaret, Derek, and Emma. Further survived by sister Beverly West, Stevens Point; Brother Warren (Marie), Waynesville NC; many nieces and nephews. She was the matriarch and a pillar for many and will be dearly missed.
A Celebration of Life will be held Friday September 27, 4-8 PM at Sentry Muse Gallery Room, 1800Northpoint Drive, Stevens Point. A time of gathering music will precede the 5 PM service followed by abuffet dinner.
Barbara stated her wishes that upon her passing charitable donations be made in lieu of flowers. Memorial gifts can be made to the Arlyn G. and Florence E. West Family Fine Arts Scholarship online at https://give.uwsp.edu/give-now or by check made payable to UWSP Foundation, 2100 Main Street, Stevens Point, WI 54481. Please designate West Family Fine Arts Scholarship #3132.