Barb Hedrick offered constant reminders that sometimes strength comes in the form of a bright smile and a tidy house.
She worked through some painful problems in her life, but they never took away her joy or gave her pause to feel sorry for herself. Barb soldiered on through the discomfort and focused instead on lifting up those around her.
Barb was a well-manicured force all the way through her untimely passing in April. She exuded grace and dignity and was adored by her brother Bill, her sisters Rita and Sue, her daughters Jody and Amy, and her grandchildren Ethan, Anna, Sophia, Connor, Owen and Brady. Barb loved her family and found a whole new level of joy when she spent time with her grandkids.
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The family was limited to a small, but moving, celebration of Barb’s life, but there was no denying that the magnitude of her presence was so much greater. Her daughter, Amy, delivered a beautiful and emotional message at the service that was all about Barb’s strength and her courage to always press onward.
Barb was tough but gentle, strong but kind, and was known to many as a woman who always put her best foot forward.
“Amy stood up and talked about all the strong people in the world, but said her mother was the strongest,” Barb’s sister, Rita, said. “She lived her whole life with medical issues, but never complained and always helped. She was always there if someone asked. She had been through so many things, but she always had compassion going through them.”
Amy’s presence, in fact, is a testament to Barb’s strength and persistence. She was cautioned by doctors about having children when she was diagnosed with scoliosis in her teens, which also landed her in a back brace for a year. And as soon as she got out of the brace and started walking, Barb broke her leg.
Barb contended with limitations on her activities as a result, but she always loved the arts and later volunteered her time at concerts and theaters. She most certainly wasn’t going to allow health problems to prevent her and her late husband Charles from having the family they always wanted.
Sue was 17 years younger than Barb and the youngest daughter of their parents, Lucille and John. She grew up with admiration for her big sister and later came to view her as a motherly figure and a mentor. To Sue, Barb was also the portrait of a wonderful mother she always strived to emulate.
“I learned a lot from her about being a parent,” Sue said. “She was a great mom to the girls. They were the highlight of her life. She did a lot with them, and I always admired her for that. When I had children, I tried to model that. She was a great role model as a mom, and she was also a great friend.”
When Greg Huzicka married into the family, he remembers meeting Barb for the first time and coming away so impressed by her attitude and the “immaculate” condition of her home. At the same time, he was surprised by how such a proper woman could be so much fun, and he laughs thinking about her zooming around town with Charles’ old “Bucks” license plate.
Barb and Charles loved Ohio State football, and she cheered on the Buckeyes to the very end. She attended church every Sunday and especially looked forward to Easter and Christmas services. Barb also loved hosting the family for holiday celebrations and baking cookies with each of her grandkids.
“We had a lot of fun times gathering as a family with them and their friends for cookouts and celebrating the holidays,” Sue said. “We would go to their house most Christmases. That was always fun, and she always made us feel special.”
Barb also hosted Greg, Amy and their boys sometimes and got together often, and they, too, were always made to feel special.
Greg held his breath sometimes, worried that their three boys might destroy or otherwise tarnish all the work Barb put into her home or car. Barb never thought that way, though. She focused all of her energy cherishing those moments with her grandsons, from showing up to as many of their school and sports events as she could to birthday shopping trips and her famous cookie baking dates over the holidays.
“She was an absolutely unbelievable grandmother,” Greg said. “She made their lives very special and saw them all the time. She had every reason in the world to have excuses, but by God she wasn’t going to miss anything. She loved having each grandkid over individually to do cookies, and she went to every sporting event she could.”
Barb made so many lives special.
She made every effort and truly supported every member of her family. Barb learned a lot from her mother and got her spiritual foundation as a young girl attending the same Methodist church she called home for over 40 years. Faith was important to her and perhaps helped give Barb the courage to stay upbeat through the hard times.
Barb will be remembered for the immense strength she packed into such a humble, quiet and modest package. She was the daughter of a strong mother and projected that same fortitude to Amy and Jody in everything she did.
Barb had private moments with her sisters where she expressed pain or regret, but those moments were rare and fleeting. When it came time to roll out of bed the next day or be there in support of someone else, Barb did it with a smile on her face, her hair done and dressed to impress.
“She just tried to make the best of it,” Rita said.
That went for every day, every situation and every opportunity to be with the people she loves most. Barb was a beloved sister, mother, grandmother and friend who fought to make the most of every moment in her life, and she did.
Barb Hedrick was an inspiration whose impact will be felt for generations to come.
There will be difficult days ahead and a void to fill this holiday season, which was always such a special time with Barb. Her cookies, her decorations and her very presence will be missed this Christmas and many other days in the future, but her legacy lives on and her strength is alive and well in her daughters and grandchildren.
“She was one of the strongest people I know,” Greg said. “She had every reason in the world to have excuses for things, but by God she was going to everything she could. She wasn’t going to let anything get in the way.”
“Barb will always be remembered for her strength and positive attitude,” Sue added. She was always ready to conquer a new day!”
Even in her passing, Barb is sending that message of inspiration. This calendar year has been tough in many ways for the entire family, but they hope to draw strength from the woman who never saw a challenge she couldn’t meet with a smile and a positive attitude.
“She’s an inspiration to everyone in a tough year for a lot of people for a lot of reasons,” Greg said. “People are searching for a reason for inspiration, and that’s Barb pushing through tough times and handling it with such grace. She’s more an inspiration now than ever.”