Barbara J. Rolland, June 4, 1929 - July 18, 2018

Barbara J. Rolland
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Barbara J. Rolland, age 89, of Eau Claire passed away Wednesday morning, July 18, 2018 at Grace Edgewood Assisted Living in Altoona. 

She was the beloved wife of Alvin E. Rolland, mother of John J. Long of Eau Claire, WI and Cynthia K. Nystrom of Silver Spring, MD, and step-mother of Tom Rolland of Albuquerque, NM and Eric Rolland of Lancaster, WI.  She is also survived by her sister, Jean Quale, of Chippewa Falls, WI, 12 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.

Barbara was born June 4, 1929, in Chippewa Falls, WI to Joel E. and Mildred (Kelly) Nystrom. She graduated from Chippewa Falls High School in 1947, from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire in 1960, and received Master of Arts degree in French from the University of Wisconsin in 1963.  She also studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, France in the summer of 1964.

Barbara and Alvin were married for 52 years and lived a rich and varied life together, a life centered on family, community service and the University. Professionally, Barbara taught French and English as a Second Language at UWEC, served as foreign student advisor, established the English as a Foreign Language Certification Program, and advised the French Honors Society.  She also organized and directed a summer program for international students, which continues today, and organized the International Folk Fair, which also continues today at the University. From 1993-1995, Barbara was employed as professor of English at Monterrey Tec (ITESM), in Guadalajara, Mexico.

She became an advocate for the Hmong refugees who settled in the Eau Claire area during the 1970’s, serving on the Hmong Advisory Board, and teaching English classes to Hmong adults.  She maintained close friendships with many of the Hmong for the rest of her life.  She also created the “New Beginnings” program, which provided tutoring for students in the Eau Claire school system.  She recruited UWEC students and retired faculty members as volunteers for the program, which ran for more than 15 years.  Barbara also worked as a tutor for the Literacy Volunteers of America for many years.  She served as an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Eau Claire, was on the Board of Directors of the Chippewa Valley Boys and Girls Club, President of Emeritus Faculty of UWEC, Chair and board member of SCORE, and member of the Clear Water Kiwanis.

Barbara was politically active as well, serving as the 3rd District Secretary of the Republican Party, delegate to the National Convention, and secretary to the Eau Claire County Republican Party.

In addition to her family, professional and community activities, Barbara found time to author/coauthor several books: 2 French textbooks, a historical description of the Hmong people (“Trail Through the Mists”) and a murder mystery (“A Lake to Die in”).  She has received numerous awards for her commitment to her teaching profession and her community work, including the 1999 Women of Distinction award from the Girl Scouts of America, the 2002 Excellence in Service Learning award from UWEC, and the 2002 Wisconsin’s First Lady’s Volunteerism Award.

Her children remember her as a loving parent who encouraged in them a love of the arts and openness to other cultures. They have fond memories of evenings at home with friends and family gathered around the piano, attending concerts and other University events, and enjoying cuisines from around the world, often prepared by visiting professors from UWEC. Likewise, they were able to meet and spend time with people from all walks of life and from many different countries and cultures. In later years, as the family grew, Barb and Al hosted summer poolside BBQs with many friends and family members in attendance.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the organization of the donor’s choice in Barbara’s name.

Services for Barbara will be on Saturday, July 21, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 2112 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI.  Friends and family may visit from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. A committal service will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 21, 2018 at Prairie View Cemetery in Lake Hallie, WI.

Friends and family may offer condolences online at

Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.


  1. Chris Frenzel July 25, 2018

    I am so sorry to learn of the passing of my wonderful French professor. I began my love of French in Mlle Rolland's classroom at UWEC. She had a way of making the language and culture come alive and by the time this semester class was over, I was hooked. I loved my time in France (speaking with some fluency) and attribute that wonderful time in my life to Mlle. Roland's instruction. She was a delightful woman who represented the good things in life. I will miss her though not as much as you will.

  2. Marianne (Andersson) Leung July 21, 2018

    Mrs. Rolland significantly influenced the life of many young people throughout her active life as a dedicated educator. When I was enrolled as an international student from Sweden at UWEC (1980-1984), she served as my Foreign Student Advisor and mentor for several years. The job I held at her office throughout my time at the university made it possible for me to complete my undergraduate education. Her support for me and other international students was crucial at that point in our lives. Countless international students and Eau Claire community members benefitted from Mrs. Rolland’s determination to facilitate transformative cultural exchange in Eau Claire over several decades of her tiredless work. I am forever grateful that my life was so profoundly and positively affected by Mrs. Rolland’s caring spirit.

  3. Sheila Wilkinson July 21, 2018

    I was so sorry to gets the sad news Al. We have been missing Barb (and you) at Republican Women, and the ladies always asked about her. Saying goodbye is not easy, so our prayers will be with you and your family. May God wrap His loving arms around you and comfort you.

  4. Tom and Sharon Wineinger July 20, 2018

    Al, please know that you are in our thoughts during this very hard time for you. We are out of town and will not be able to attend the funeral, but wanted you to know how sorry we were to hear this news about Bard. We had no idea that she was even in the nursing home in Altoona. Please take care -

  5. Margaret Hagen July 20, 2018

    John and family, I am so very sorry for your loss. Your Mom must have been a busy and very well liked individual. You have a lot of great memories of her.

    Love from cousin Margaret. (aka Mugs)

  6. Kristine Werner July 20, 2018

    Barbara was an instrumental person in my life during my Eau Claire days. She was my French advisor, and I worked in her office. She nurtured my love of languages and cultures. She encouraged my leadership development. I went on to use French is my work in Belgium, Cameroon, and France. I followed her as Foreign Student Advisor, and and also trained further in ESL teaching, as well as Hmong culture workshops. She leaves a wonderful legacy on many levels and touched many people's lives. Among my favoruite memories are the annual International Folkfair, making Bunche de Noel at her home, and singing French Christmas carols and drinking ditties in daily 8 am French class in Schofield Hall while she played piano and sang robustly!