GLADSTONE - Family and friends are remembering community leader Barbara Nemacheck, who passed away Wednesday after a battle with breast cancer. Beyond volunteering, Nemacheck was instrumental in the formation of the Bay College nursing department, was a co-owner of Rampart EMS, and served on the Gladstone School Board.
In the early 1980s Nemacheck began working at Rampart Emergency Medical Services and later became a part-owner and the director of emergency medical services. She continued working as a paramedic until her retirement.
Nemacheck also had a passion for education. She helped to start the nursing program at Bay College and served on their Nursing Advisory Board for many years, as well as served as a member of the Gladstone Board of Education for 16 years.
"People listened to her when she spoke because she was such a trustworthy and honest person," said Alice Butch, long-term friend of Nemacheck. "You know, some people talk and you think, 'what's their agenda?' but not with Barb."
Nemacheck used her skills as a nurse wherever she could to help the needy, whether it was as a volunteer nurse at a church camp, providing physicals for school children, or as a missionary.
"She had a friend that ran a mission down in Nicaragua, and one day she called and asked, 'would you like to go to Nicaragua with me?'" said Butch. "She traveled with a doctor and she saw hundreds of children while we were there."
Family was very important to Nemacheck, who celebrated her 48th wedding anniversary with her husband David in May. That love of family extended outside her own.
"Even when she was suffering she'd call and check on my kids, and she'd never say she was in pain unless I asked her," said friend Joy Jorgensen.
"She had such a servant's heart ... she never thought of herself it was always what's best for other people," Joy added.
Faith was an important part of Nemacheck's life, and it overflowed into her community involvement.
"She was one of the people with the strongest faiths I've ever met in my life," said Rev. Elizabeth Hill of Memorial United Methodist Church where Nemacheck attended. "She lived out her faith.
Nemacheck became a member of the church shortly after moving to Gladstone in 1969. She was a member of the choir, was active in ministries, women's groups, vacation Bible school, and represented the church on both the district and conference levels.
"She was the one who initiated the hunter's venison project. She did it long before anyone else knew what it was," said Butch.
What started as Nemacheck bringing a mini-van full of venison to the Cass Community United Methodist Church's mission in Detroit has grown to be an annual community event where hunters from around the area donate meat. The project has yielded more than 10 tons of venison for needy families since it was started in the mid-1980s.
Nemacheck is survived by her husband David; their three daughters, Debbie Johnson of Franklin, Wis., Chris Nemacheck of Richmond, Va., and Sherri Doberstein of Menomonee Falls, Wis.; and nine grandchildren.