Barbara Ruth Colvin, age 97, was born on October 15, 1923, in Hutchinson, Kansas, to Harold Colvin and Ruth Buffon Colvin.
A week later the family moved to Hamilton, Kansas, where most of her dad’s immediate family lived. When Barbara was about seven years old, her mother contracted tuberculosis. She went to the tuberculosis sanatorium in Norton, Kansas, where she stayed for the next 10 years. When Barbara was 12, the family moved to Russell, Kansas, where her dad got a job with Cities Service Oil Company, working in the oil fields as a pumper.
Barbara attended Russell High School, graduating with top honors. She often said, her only claim to fame was that she graduated with Senator Bob Dole. Her first job out of high school was with Mountain Bell (Ma Bell to her) telephone company as a “number please” operator. Back then everyone was on a party line which served as the gossip center for the town. Barbara wanted more education but couldn’t afford college, so when she saw an ad for the National Youth Administration (NYA) school in Topeka, Kansas, she applied and was accepted. She chose radio broadcasting as her course of study.
This schooling led to a job with radio station WIBW in Topeka as a control room operator, where she controlled everything that went on the air. It was a country-western station with live performances, so she became teasingly known to listeners as “Aunt Barbara”. She also obtained a restricted commercial radio license and a general amateur (ham) radio license. She still had an active license at the time of her death.
While in school, Barbara befriended Johnny Price, also a radio student. Since World War II was in full swing, most of the fellows in the class decided to join the US Army Air Corps. She and Johnny corresponded the whole time he was overseas. When he returned stateside and was discharged in 1946, they married. They moved to Salina, Kansas, so Johnny could attend college. Barbara got a job at the local radio station, KSAL, as program manager, where she worked for six years.
After graduation, Johnny was offered a job at Sandia Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico, so they moved again. Their first child, Curtis was three months old when Barbara decided to be a stay-at-home mom. Curtis was followed by a daughter, Dedria, and another son, Timothy. After six years at the labs, Johnny moved to Lovelace Medical Foundation, where he worked with Dr. Lovelace before moving to Lovelace Medical Center as head of the electronics department until his retirement.
In 1958, Johnny and Barbara moved to an acreage in Corrales, where they lived happily for the next 50 years. Barbara finally went back to work, first as a secretary at the Sandoval (now Corrales) Elementary School for six years.
After a short employment with the Lovelace Medical Foundation, she worked at the YWCA in Albuquerque for 15 years. Upon leaving the YWCA, she worked at the United Methodist Church conference office until she and Johnny retired because of his health. He passed away in 2007, leaving an empty space in her life. She then moved back to Albuquerque in 2010.
Wherever Johnny and Barbara lived, they were active in the Methodist Church. When Paradise Hills United Methodist Church was organized on the westside of Albuquerque, they eagerly gave up driving across the river to become members. At one time or another, Barbara was the secretary of almost every church committee, the unofficial church secretary, the treasurer, membership secretary, hospitality host, and even volunteer janitor. By 2015, Barbara was the only surviving charter member of the church. Now, there are none.
Barbara enjoyed sewing, quilting, and was an avid reader. After retiring, she read every book she had put aside for later during her child-raising and working years.
Due to the pandemic, a celebration of Barbara’s life will be postponed until the pandemic has passed. Barbara will be placed with Johnny at the Santa Fe National Cemetery on Monday, October 18, 2021, at 9:45 a.m. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Wycliffe Bible Translators, the Disabled American Veterans, the American Bible Society, or the Salvation Army.
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