Barbara Mae West passed away on October 8, 2018 at the age of 86 from age related causes.
Barbara Mae Birnel was born at home on October 4, 1932 at Four Lakes, Washington outside of Spokane to Geneva (Woods) and Orville Birnel.
The family lived in the Dishman area until Barb was 10 years old at which time they moved to the Greenwood area of Seattle, Washington. After her parents divorced Barb lived in Seattle until her senior year of high school. She moved to Spokane to live with her dad and graduated from North Central High School in 1950. After high school she went to work as a telephone operator where she met her future husband Kenneth Hammond.
They were married February 23rd 1951 in Spokane. Ken enlisted in the Army and they moved back to the Seattle area so he could do his basic training at Ft. Lewis, Washington. After a training accident, Ken was honorably discharged and the family settled in Chehalis, Washington. They had four children, Karen, Kathy and the twins Ross and Ray Hammond.
In 1959 the family moved back to the Spokane area and Barb’s little sister Sarah (Tammi) came to live with them in 1960.
After Barb and Ken divorced she remarried and moved to Moscow, Idaho where she worked along with her husband at J. C. Penny Co. They were transferred in 1965 to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Barb divorced and went to work at the Gallery Restaurant supporting her four children with no outside help. She worked here for many years and waited on celebrities including Clint Eastwood, Barbara Streisand, Julie Newmar and many others vacationing at the ski resort.
After the kids were out of high school and on their own Barb again remarried and moved with her husband to Vail, Iowa to start what she called her favorite career as a long haul truck driver. She and her husband owned and operated their trucking business hauling for Farmland Meats all over the eastern and southern United States. She loved being a big rig driver and enjoyed traveling and visiting so many states.
She again divorced and moved back to Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a short period of time and went to work for Steamboat Reservations in Customer Service.
Barb moved to Princeton, Idaho in 1990 to live with her sister Tammi and brother in law Dennis Musick. She went to work at Lamonts (later Gottshalks) in Moscow, Idaho and loved retail. In 1998 Tammi and Dennis purchased the Potlatch Department Store and she went to work for them. Her retail experience was invaluable and she helped their daughter Wendy Gunderson run the small clothing store.
In 2002 Barb had to quit work due to cancer. She fought and beat it and had many happy years in Princeton.
Dennis and Tammi retired in 2013 and Barb moved into White Pine Manor in Potlatch, Idaho. She made many lasting friendships there. Health issues forced her to move to Aspen Care Nursing Home in April of 2017.
Barb was an avid sports fan and loved Football and Nascar racing, attending races all over the United States with Tammi and Dennis. She was a wonderful artist and jewelry designer and enjoyed making items for family and friends. She was known for her sense of fashion and her wonderful “Pink” hair. In later years she enjoyed house and dog sitting for her sister Shirley and many friends she met in the Seattle area.
Barb is preceded in death by her parents and sisters Eileen Pernar and Shirley Lukhang of Seattle, Washington.
She is survived by her children, Karen Hammond of Boise, Idaho, Kathy (Toby) and husband Kirby Duncan of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Ross and wife Julie Hammond of Steamboat Springs, Colorado and Ray Hammond of Denver, Colorado, six grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.
She is also survived by her sister Tammi (Sarah) and husband Dennis Musick of Princeton, Idaho and their family who thought of Barb more as a special grandmother than aunt.
In typical “Barb” style she wanted her obituary to read that she was born, she lived and she died. At her request there will be no services.
Kramer Funeral Home, Palouse, WA is caring for the family.