Barbara Farrington Broadwell

by Lynn McMillen
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Barbara Farrington BroadwellBarbara Farrington Broadwell, 92, of Decatur, Alabama passed peacefully in her sleep on May 24, 2024. She is survived by her husband John, her children Laura Brown, Mike, Nancy Ledbetter (Scott) and Jenny Luelf (Mark), and her grandchildren Kati Brown, Matt Brown and Riley Luelf Eben (Seth).

Barbara’s birth was celebrated with national fanfare on July 4, 1931. She grew up in Centreville, Alabama, the only child of Jesse Mae and Jasper Bailey Farrington, with extended family nearby. She shared a special bond and many adventures with her cousin Ann, born six months before her, which included trips to Birmingham to the Mickey Mouse Club.

Growing up in the small town of Centreville, Barbara attended Bibb County Elementary and graduated from Bibb County High School in 1949. She went on to earn a degree in elementary education from Auburn University.

Barbara began her career teaching first grade in Warrington, Florida and Columbus, Georgia. Then she accepted a position teaching for a year at the U.S. Air Force Dependents’ School in Mildenhall, England. While she was there, she toured many countries including Austria, France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, and Italy. Barbara came home with many beautiful memories, pictures, souvenirs, and a broader knowledge of the world. After returning from her European adventure, Barbara began teaching in Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia.

During that time Barbara’s beauty and charm caught the eye of a young military private, John Broadwell. He invited her to a carnival, failing to mention he already had a date. He recruited a friend to make a foursome, and ended up riding the rides with Barbara. He was smitten. On March 29, 1959 they were married in Centreville, Alabama at the United Methodist Church. This past March they celebrated sixty-five years of marriage.

Barbara took a break from teaching after moving to Atlanta, Georgia, to set up a home and begin a family. During the next five years they added Laura, Mike, Nancy and Jenny to the Broadwell family. Barbara would go back to teaching and teach second grade at Valley Point Elementary after their move to Dalton, Georgia. Later, the family moved to Decatur, Alabama, which would become their permanent home. Barbara became an active member of First Baptist Church serving in the nursery and Mothers’ Day Out ministries for years. She enjoyed her Sunday school class and attending women’s Bible studies.

Barbara taught kindergarten at the Children’s Learning Center, then worked at Red Hanger and Chad’s in the Beltline Mall, as well as doing telephone marketing research. Many remember her from her time cashiering at the Beltline Car Wash.

Barbara dedicated her life to serving and loving her husband and family. She selflessly gave to them, teaching them about Jesus, which built a foundation that would later lead them to find their own faith. She instilled in them a love for others and all God’s creatures. She would later bring her mother into their home and care for her near the end of her life. Sons-in-laws and grandchildren were added to the family and to her heart.

Barbara was a good friend and neighbor to those around her. She had a friendly smile, laughed easily and had encouraging words, and often a quick wit, delivered with a twinkle in her eye. She lived her life with quiet confidence and was cherished by family and friends. Barbara was one of the first residents at Harbor Point where she spent most afternoons visiting with neighbors. Eight years ago when she began to require more care, her oldest daughter Laura moved back from Wisconsin and took the lead in the family caregiving team. Later other caregivers were added including Holly, who became like family, along with many nurses and care providers from Hospice of North Alabama.

Barbara’s presence will be missed by all who knew her. She had an easy way of bringing joy and laughter, bringing out the best in others. Barbara had a life lived well and is now enjoying healing and wholeness with her Savior Jesus Christ. She will be missed, but she is in a beautiful place waiting for us to follow.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at Fellowship Baptist Church (2709 Setter Avenue SW, Decatur, AL 35603) on Saturday, June 1, 2024 at 2:00 pm.

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