Barbara C. Rohl
Barbara Clare Rohl of Roberts, Wis., entered a new and more peaceful life on April 4, at Westfield's Hospital in New Richmond, Wis., after a courageous seven year battle with cancer.
Barb was the second of three daughters, born to Norbert J. Rohl and Harriet (Hennessey) Rohl.
Barb grew up on farms in the Town of Warren in St. Croix County, Wis., and has lived on the family farm, Kerry Woods, since 1941. Her mother's grandparents, Denis and Margaret Murphy Hennessey, and the Runions-Greenfield family were among the first Europeans to settle in the Town of Warren.
Barb attended Roberts State Grade School and her teacher for her first three years was Hazel Mackin for whom, upon Barb's suggestion, the library in Roberts is named. Barb is a graduate of Roberts High School and holds Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. She also attended Hamline University, the University of St. Thomas, and the University of Minnesota. Barbara began her teaching career in the BellAire Elementary School in White Bear Lake, Minn. After teaching fifth grade there for six years, she decided to transfer to the Mahtomedi, Minn. school district, where she taught fifth grade for 29 years.
Barb and her sister, Dora Marie, have followed in their late father's tradition of raising Hereford beef cattle on the beautiful hills of Kerry Woods Farm. Through the years, their family has included many Sheltie dogs: Scottie, Brady, Caley, Danny Boy, and Sean, who continues to live at Kerry Woods.
Barb loved Ireland and first traveled there and to many other European countries in the summer of 1963. That trip began annual visits to Ireland, until last year, when her health prevented the visit. Her mother's Hennessey roots go back to County Kerry, Ireland, and her father's Hawkins-McLaughlin family can be traced to Counties Galway and Kildare.
Over the years, Barb has driven the roads of Ireland with many friends and relatives whom she introduced to the beauty of Ireland. She has especially loved her "stays" at Kathleen O'Sullivan's Seaview House Hotel at Banty Bay in West County Cork, Liz and Phil's B&B which overlooks the Shannon River, and the Smythe Village Hotel in Feakle County Clare. Barb and her family made many "cross-country" car trips and visited relatives in the San Francisco and the Los Angeles areas. She made several auto trips to Banff and Jasper Parks in Western Canada and drove to Flin Flon in Manitoba and Northern Saskatchewan.
Barb was one of the first lay communion distributors in St. Patrick's of Hudson. For many years, she taught evening high school religious education classes and R.C.I.A. She also served many years on the Social Concerns Committee and introduced them to the needs of the homeless and hungry at Sharing and Caring Hands in Minneapolis, where over 30 years ago, she began to volunteer and assist in cleaning apartment buildings and serving food. She also prepared and served meals to those in need at Grace Place in Somerset, Wis.
Barb was extremely concerned that all people of our world have food, good water, proper medical care, and decent housing. She also gave much attention to the environment - air, water, and land. No chemicals were used on her large garden which produced many vegetables which she shared with friends. No chemicals were used by her or her father on Kerry Woods Farm land. Barb has worked for many years to preserve farmland.
In 1974, Barb was one of a small group of Roberts-Warren women who determined that the Village of Roberts needed a library. That group met many times with the Roberts Village Board and, eventually, the Board approved the concept. From that, the women began fundraising which brought the library to Main Street. Then 30 years later, Barb and a few others began the fundraising which has brought to the community the present Hazel Mackin Community Library building. She has received the "Above & Beyond Award", from the Indianhead Library Association, the "Outstanding Contribution Award" from the American Heritage Care Center of Hammond, Wis., and was the 1984 Roberts Good Neighbor. Barb served many years on the University of Wisconsin - River Falls Foundation Board.
Barb is survived by her sister, Dora Marie Rohl; her Sheltie, Sean; her four kittens; special friends who have been with her through her many surgeries and hospital stays: Nancy Parlin, Pat Parlin Caponi, Connie VanKeuren, Ardis Shannon Ames, and Mary and Steve Wicker; special cousins: Deb and Jack Larsen, Sandra, Richard F., and Sharee Koch; and many other wonderful friends and relatives.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Norbert and Harriet; sister, Harriet Jane; and Shelties: Scottie, Brady, Caley, and Danny Boy.
Mass of Christian Burial for Barbara Rohl was held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 8, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1500 Vine St., Hudson. A visitation was held from 4-7 p.m. with a prayer service at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 7, 2014 at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home, 520 S. 11th St., Hudson, as well as visitation one hour prior to the Mass at church Tuesday morning. Father Jerry Harris officiated. Burial was in St. Patrick's Catholic Cemetery in Hudson with casket bearers being Jack Larsen, Richard F. Koch, Joel Budd, Steve Wicker, Richard Koats, Tyler Koats, Howard Macky, and Fred Schulte.
Memorials are preferred in lieu of flowers to the Dora Marie and Barbara Rohl Scholarship at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls.
Arrangements are in the care of the O'Connell Family Funeral Home of Hudson, (715) 386-3725.