Herdliska, Barbara Jean
Barbara Jean Herdliska, 87, of Washington, Iowa, died Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, at the Washington County Hospital following a brief illness. At her request, Barbara’s body has been donated to the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Celebration of life services will be held at a later date. The Jones & Eden Funeral Home is assisting with arrangements.
Online condolences may be sent for Barbara’s family through the web at www.jonesfh.com.
Barbara was born Aug. 14, 1925, in Washington, Iowa, the daughter of Marvin Duane and Cleo State (Coulter) Williamson. She attended high school in Davenport, Iowa, and graduated from Iowa City High in 1943. She was united in marriage to Robert Henry Herdliska on Aug. 14, 1946.
Barbara had resided in Washington, Iowa, since 1987. She was a homemaker and took an active role in raising her four daughters. Barbara served as a Girl Scout leader, room mother and was on the School Study Council while in Iowa City. She enjoyed volunteering her time at the VA Hospital in Iowa City. She was a longtime member of the Presbyterian Church. Barbara was hired by Congressman Jim Leach in 1976 to work on his campaign staff where she worked for a couple of terms. She was later hired by the State Republican Central Committee where she worked as the organizational director of the Republican Party until 1982. In her earlier years, she always had pets and was a staunch supporter of animal care organizations.
Barbara always loved words and poetry. While in high school, she learned to recite “The White Cliffs of Dover” by Alice Duer Miller, which she was still able to recite until her death. She conveyed her love of literature and music to her daughters. She loved classical music and was thrilled when her daughter, Phyllis, became a classical musician.
Following a hospitalization in 2007, Barbara became homebound. During this time, she reconnected with old friends. She bought a computer, and with coaching from her son-in-law, Todd, she learned how to use it. She spent many hours doing computer research and writing, as well as sharing poetry and stories with her family and friends.
Her fervent desire was to remain in her home, and this was accomplished with the help of an extensive support system and the generosity of her favorite doctor, Dr. Huang. She had a wonderful support group in Washington, and looked forward to seeing her Meals on Wheels volunteers each day. She shared stories with her “oxygen lady” Deb, and the nurses from Washington County Public Health. When she tripped over her oxygen cord and broke her wrist, her kind neighbor, Bev, drove her to the Steindler Clinic in Iowa City for treatment. Her regular helper since 2005, Kay, saw to it that she had what she needed and wanted in order to stay in her home.
Barbara’s family is grateful to all of those who assisted Barbara during her years in Washington and requests that instead of flowers, all donations be made to the Meals on Wheels Program or to Paws and More Animal Shelter in Washington.
Barbara is survived by her daughter, Sandra Medvedoff and husband Michael of Fairfield, Calif.; daughter, Phyllis Herdliska of Houston, Texas; and daughter, Deborah Hartmann and husband Todd of San Marcos, Calif.
She is also survived by grandson, Scott Henness and wife Nancy of Kansas City, Mo.; granddaughter, Stephanie Rowland and husband Randy of North Pole, Alaska; and three great-grandchildren; Andrew Henness of Columbus, Ohio, Robin Henness of Kansas City, Mo. and Kristen Rowland of North Pole, Alaska; as well as cousins, Harriett Rustan and husband Garth of Washington, Iowa, and Roger Kleese of Minnesota.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband in 2005; one daughter, Janet; brother, Douglas Williamson; sister, Jo Pitney; and an infant sister, Phyllis Williamson.
Published in The Gazette Dec. 11, 2012.