Barbara Jean Vorhes, 96, of Eau Claire, died early in the morning of Friday, August 20, 2021, at The Classic at Hillcrest Greens in Altoona.
Barbara was born Feb. 27, 1925, in Mason City, Iowa, the daughter of Bertha (Weeks) and Robert Quandahl. She was baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on June 14, 1925. She moved to Ames, Iowa, in 1931, where, following the divorce of her parents, her aunt, Margaret Weeks, and her grandmother, Berthine Weeks, a Norwegian immigrant, helped her mother raise her. She graduated from Ames High School in 1942, then went on to St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, from which she graduated in 1946. Summer jobs during her college years included making jungle hammocks for U.S. troops in the Pacific and fuses for bombs. While at St. Olaf, where she majored in English, she was involved in many musical activities and served one year as editor of the college’s year book. Following graduation, she taught English in Winthrop, Minnesota, for two years.
While at St. Olaf, she became engaged to Arthur M. Vorhes. They met in Luther League while in high school and attended St. Olaf together. They married on June 12, 1948, while Arthur was a student at Luther Theological Seminary. While he served his internship in Viroqua, Wisconsin, Barbara continued her teaching career. Following Arthur’s graduation and ordination in 1950, they moved to rural Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, and over the years that followed, to Hayward, Minnesota; Perham, Minnesota; Hayward, Wisconsin; and Menominee, Wisconsin. Barbara was actively involved in each of the congregations Arthur served, often serving as the church organist, and was always active in church women’s organizations at local, regional, and national levels. They concluded Arthur’s years of ministry together at Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp, near Story City, Iowa, where he was the executive director and Barbara worked as the camp secretary. Over the years, she also occasionally taught, but was primarily a wonderful homemaker. They retired to Eau Claire in 1988.
In retirement, Barbara and Arthur volunteered for many years at Luther Hospital in the Step Force program and in various other roles. She also served for several years on the library board at Trinity Lutheran Church. She was an avid reader, reading hundreds of books a year until the last days of her life
She enjoyed traveling with Arthur, including trips to Israel, Norway, and Holland, where she had a “sister,” Fini Albronda, whom she first met as a pen pal when she was 13.They also traveled to Poland and Slovakia on mission trips with old friends and new to help improve facilities at Bible camps. In later years she enjoyed trips with friends to Alaska and around Lake Superior.
Barbara is survived by a son, Pastor Peter Arthur (Liz Siivola), Laurium, Michigan; two daughters, Ruth Naomi (Steven) Haer, Savannah, Missouri, and Mary Elizabeth, Roseville, Minnesota; four grandchildren, Erik (Erica Schemper) Vorhes, Kirstin Sellers, Richard (Melissa) Piper, and Roman (Rachel) Piper; six great-grandchildren, Zora, Abram, and Hazel Schemper Vorhes; Grace Sellers; and Meghan and Luke Piper; and many friends, including Eleanor Hesse of Eau Claire, with whom a deep and lasting friendship began at St. Olaf in 1942, and Mary Schoenknecht of Eau Claire, who was a great help to Barbara in her later years. She was preceded in death by her husband in 2008; her son, Stephen Lee (partner Ellen Walton, who survives) in 2016; and her parents.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp, 3001 Riverside Rd., Story City, IA 50248; Luther Park Bible Camp, 944 24 1/4 St., Chetek, WI 54728; and Trinity Lutheran Church, 1324 E. Lexington Blvd., Eau Claire, WI 54701.
A memorial service will take place at 11 am on Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1314 E. Lexington Blvd., Eau Claire, WI 54701. Memorial visitation will take place at the church Tuesday morning from 10 am until the time of service. Inurnment will follow at a later date in the Ames Municipal Cemetery in Ames, Iowa. To attend the service by live-stream please go to the Trinity Lutheran Church website.
Friends and family may offer condolences online at www.hulkefamilyfh.com. Hulke Family Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 3209 Rudolph Road, Eau Claire, WI 54701 is assisting the family with the arrangements.
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