Our beloved mother, sister, grandmother and friend Barbara Siedhoff (nee Rowlett) passed away on May 27 after an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 85.
Barbara loved reading, gardening, knitting and needlepoint, playing bridge, doing word puzzles, feeding her birds, and cuddling with her cats. She loved art, music and theater; traveling to Vancouver and Ashland; and anything related to the Queen. Most of all she loved her daughters, her grandson, her sister and her many close friends.
Barbara was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Charles and Ruth Rowlett. When she was 13, the family moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, where Barbara finished high school and did her nurse’s training. In 1955, she and three girlfriends who had all just become RNs travelled through the United States on their way to year-long jobs in hospitals in New York City. Along the way they had drinks in the Tonga Room in SF and walked in the Easter Parade in Manhattan. Barbara collected two marriage proposals en route, and said yes to the third -- a young ophthalmologist from New Jersey, Daniel Fishkoff. They married in December 1956 and had three daughters, whom they raised in Miami and then Metuchen, N.J.
That first marriage ended in divorce in 1973, and Barbara moved back West, eventually settling in Carmel, California where in 1980 she married Burkhard Siedhoff. Returning to her nursing career, Barbara worked for the nascent Hospice of the Central Coast alongside the late Dr. Jerry Rubin. She was one of the first nurses in the area to use ambulatory pain pumps to enable patients to control their own dosages while remaining in their homes.
In her later years, Barbara turned to volunteering, at Community Hospital of the Central Coast and Peace of Mind Dog Rescue. She knit hats for cancer patients and gave generously to local and national charities, mainly those dealing with medical research and healthcare, feeding and housing the poor, and caring for animals. She was an avid bridge player, a regular in several local groups, and she usually won. She kept a beautiful home, filled with antiques, art and books, and took meticulous care of her expansive, flowering garden.
After her cancer diagnosis last fall, Barbara chose not to seek treatment, but to live her last days as fully as possible, surrounded by family and friends. Her final weeks were spent at home in Seaside, cared for by the same hospice she helped create. She died in her own bed, as she wished, with her daughters Gwen Porter and Sue Fishkoff, and her friend Dorian Ellis, holding her hands.
Barbara is survived by her daughters; her grandson Nick Patella; her sister Carolyn Martin (Hugo); and dear friends on the Monterey Peninsula and in Vancouver. Please give to the charity of your choice in her memory. That would please her.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Barbara Siedhoff, please visit our floral store.