February 23, 1929 – July 4, 2021
Barbara F. Tornquist passed away peacefully at her home on Sunday July 4th after a brief hospitalization at the age of 92.
Born February 23, 1929 to Seneca and Marie Flanders in Springfield, Vermont. Barbara graduated from Rutland High School in Vermont in 1947. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and her teaching credential at Castleton Teachers’ College (Castleton University) in Vermont.
Barbara taught for two years in Vermont before traveling cross country with Marilyn Sanguinetti Danbom to California in 1953 to find teaching positions. Barbara began her career in the Hilmar Unified School District at Elim Elementary. Barbara’s first classroom was a quonset hut. One year, Barbara invited her students over to her house and they took turns going up for airplane rides in Vernal’s plane, flying out of an alfalfa field. Barbara taught at Elim Elementary for a total of 19 years between 1953 and 1984, taking time off to raise her children. She spent many late nights grading her students’ papers helping them to achieve their highest academic potential. Once she retired, she came back as a part-time Health Aid for 12 years.
Barbara belonged to Hilmar Covenant Church where she was a member of the choir for many years and kept track of the sheet music for each service. She taught Sunday School, helped at Vacation Bible School, and was the first female to be Church Chairperson. Barbara also drove for Meals on Wheels for a number of years taking her grandchildren with her for many deliveries.
Barbara was an avid gardener, made frequent trips to Yosemite, drove with her children across the country to Vermont several times, went to more than a few air shows, attended her grandsons’ sports and activities, loved her dogs, and was able to attend several of her son’s music events.
In recent years, she continued to read many books and work on crossword puzzles. She enjoyed being able to watch the day-to-day farming on the ranch and looked forward to her grandson’s visits.
Barbara leaves her daughter Michele (Bob) Livak of Hilmar and a son Douglas of Los Angeles, two Grandsons Keith and Kyle of Hilmar, Great Grandson Nicholas, brother-in-law David Newton of Mendon, Vermont and Charles Lujan of San Jose, and 15 nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Vernal Tornquist, and sisters’ Rosemary Newton and Carolyn Freark. The family would like to thank her wonderful caregivers Mary Jo Williams, Judy Teixeira, Maria Hill and Samantha Ramos and Community Hospice for the support they provided.
Barbara’s thoughtfulness and witty sense of humor will be greatly missed but we know she is in the Lord’s arms now. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Community Hospice or Hilmar Covenant Church.
Graveside service will be held at Hilmar Cemetery on Friday, July 9, 2021 at 9:30a.m. with a memorial to follow at Hilmar Covenant Church at 10:30a.m.