GLADSTONE - Barbara May (Smith) Nemacheck, 69, of Gladstone, ended her journey with breast cancer on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012.
Barbara was born July 18, 1943, to Robert Smith and Melba (Parker) Smith in Detroit. She married David Nemacheck on May 17, 1964; they celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary earlier this year. Barbara attended the University of Michigan and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1965. Barbara worked at St. Luke's Hospital in Milwaukee, for a year before moving to Dearborn Heights, Mich., in 1967. She and Dave moved to Gladstone in 1969, where she resided until her death. Barbara and Dave have three daughters, Debbie Johnson (Tim) of Franklin, Wis., Chris Nemacheck of Richmond, Va., and Sherri Doberstein (Mike) of Menomonee Falls, Wis. She was adored by her nine grandchildren Matthew and Sarah Melcher, Josh and Grace Biocic, Noah, Paige and Tess Johnson, and Matthew and Daniel Doberstein.
Barbara was an active volunteer and leader in her church and community throughout her life. In addition to many volunteer efforts both large and small, Barbara served as a member of the Board of Education for the Gladstone Area Public Schools where she served in several offices, including president. She was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award for her 16 years of service on the Board. She also served on the Gladstone Student Loan and Scholarship Foundation. Along with a friend, she founded Gladstone's sanctioned girls Little League softball program. She remained active in the program and was one of the coaches for her daughters' softball teams for many years.
Barbara May (Smith) Nemacheck
After frequently being called on to help friends and neighbors needing medical help, Barbara took courses to become an emergency medical technician and later a paramedic, while continuing to recertify her nursing license. She began working at Rampart Emergency Service in the early 1980s and later became a part-owner and the Director of Emergency Medical Services. In that capacity, she led Rampart's transition from providing basic life support to becoming an advanced life support service. She continued to work as a paramedic until her retirement. Barbara also helped start the nursing program at Bay College and served as a member of their Nursing Advisory Board for many years. Over the years, she volunteered to provide student physicals for the Gladstone Area Public Schools and also volunteered with Hospice.
Barbara became a member of the Memorial United Methodist Church shortly after moving to Gladstone. She was a member of the choir for most of her life in Gladstone, was active in Church ministries, in women's groups, and in several offices of the Church, and served on the church district and conference levels. She and her family also donated the land on which the current United Methodist Church now sits. She devoted many hours to vacation bible school and volunteered as the camp nurse and in the music program at the Methodist Church Camp, Michigamme. In the mid-1980s, Barbara started a venison project in which she brought many pounds of venison and winter coats down to the Cass Community United Methodist Church's mission in Detroit. What started as a mini-van full of venison that Barb, Dave and their daughters took down to the church on a family trip has developed into a Church- and community-wide project that has yielded more than 10 tons of venison over some 25 years.
Barbara was an active volunteer for many years with the Salvation Army in Escanaba and also contributed her time and talents to the New Hope Children's Foundation, a Christian organization providing education, food, clothing and medical care to children in throughout Nicaragua. Barbara worked with New Hope as a medical missionary and for many years has continued to support their efforts.
In 1993, Barbara was the recognized with The President's Award for Distinguished Citizenship for being "an exceptional visionary as a nurse, educational leader, and humanitarian." She was also the 1994 recipient of the Elks Distinguished Citizenship Award.
In addition to her service to her community, Barbara enjoyed spending time with her family and many friends, traveling both domestically and abroad, and was an avid bridge player. She will be missed tremendously.
In addition to her husband, daughters and grandchildren, Barbara is survived by her sisters Nancy (Fred) Nemacheck and Diane (Bob) Butler, her brother-in-law Bill (Patti) Nemacheck, her cousin Mary (Weldon) Moseley, her nieces and nephews, and countless friends.
A visitation and memorial service to honor Barbara's life will be held on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012, at the Memorial United Methodist Church in Gladstone. The visitation will be held from 2-4 p.m. followed by a service at 4 p.m. conducted by Rev. Elizabeth Hill. A light meal will be held in Smith Hall following the service. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Gladstone Memorial United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, the Salvation Army of Escanaba, or the Barbara Nemacheck Nursing Scholarship at Bay College.
The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Escanaba and Gladstone are assisting the Nemacheck family. Please visit www.skradskifuneralhomes.com where you can express your sympathy to the Nemacheck family, or to leave a memory tribute about Barbara.