Barbara was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on November 15, 1939, the first child of Earnest and Helen Jensen. She was raised in Downers Grove, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. On April 30 1960 she married Ben (B.F.) Powell, who survives. In August of 1962 Barbara and Ben moved to Wausau, Wisconsin. For the past 57 years Barbara lived in the home she and Ben designed and built for their family of four children, Dan (Heather), Bellingham, WA, Andy (Joan), Minnetonka, MN, Christy (Robb Stengl), Wausau, and Becky, Wausau. Together they created a home where all were welcome. Barbara was a devoted mother, championing every event and accomplishment with support, enthusiasm and love.
Barbara earned her RN degree in 1978 from North Central Technical College and her BSN from UW Oshkosh in 1988. Barbara spent the majority of her career working in ICU but often floated throughout the many departments of the Wausau (Aspirus) Hospital. Barbara was a nurse extraordinaire, providing not only medical care but teaching and nurturing; always with her smile and positive attitude. At the end of her career Barbara turned her nursing skills to hospice. She became a nurse in the Wausau Hospice Program and helped design the current Aspirus Hospice House. She traveled to hospice houses in the United States and worked with designers and architects to create a house with comfort, dignity and loving care for the patients who entered, as well as their families. To all who have known Barbara, it is her unwavering care, hospitality and love that stand out. This is the gift that she gave to people and to the community of Wausau through the remarkable institution that is the Hospice House.
Barbara was a member of many organizations. She was a committed member of PEO Chapter CO of Wausau, The Friendly Twelve Homemakers Chapter of Marathon County, and First Presbyterian Church, serving in several positions with special attention to the Parish Nurse Program.
Together Barbara and Ben shared 61 amazing years of marriage: living life, raising children, and working together on their hobby farm. They shared love and adventure as they cultivated their life with each new season and year.
In addition to her husband and children, Barbara is survived by eight grandchildren, Tyler (Kori), Mikkel (Jo), Elliot (Macy), Griffin, Noah (Aila), Ryker, Benna, Gracia, and 5 great grandchildren. She is also survived by her younger brothers, Phil (Mickey), Stoughton, WI, Steve (Karen), Owatonna, MN, David (Dorthea), Contoocock, NH, an AFS daughter, Makku Antaikainen of Kuopio, Finland, as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins who love her dearly.
Barbara died on April 24, 2021 at the Aspirus Hospice House surrounded by her loving family. The family of Barbara Powell would like to thank all the employees of the Hospice House, the in-home hospice team and palliative care team. Many thanks to her PEO Sisters and her YMCA yoga friends for love and support in her time of need.
A Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, June 19th at 2:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 406 Grant St. Wausau. A visitation with family will follow the service. Masks are required and vaccines appreciated. In lieu of flowers, memorial and gifts may be made to the Aspirus Hospice House.
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