Cover photo for Barbara Stickel's Obituary
Barbara Stickel Profile Photo

Barbara Stickel

October 26, 1930 — November 29, 2022

Barbara Stickel

Barbara Helen Winesburg was born October 26, 1930 in Elkhart, Indiana. She began her lifelong passion for baton twirling at the age of 9 when she started taking lessons. She competed in many competitions in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan as both a solo twirler and as a duet with her younger sister. She became a champion baton twirler and her talents garnered the attention of Barnum Bailey Circus who offered her a starring position in their shows at the age of 17. She declined in order to finish high school and stay with her family. Her twirling career slowed down at the age of 19 when she met and married the man who became the love of her life – Richard Stickel – a young apprentice mortician, while she was working in downtown Elkhart. They were married in Elkhart on April 16, 1950. Barbara loved to tell the story of how they met and how they had to wait 10 years for children because the Lord knew what was best.

Barbara and Richard’s life took them from Elkhart, Indiana to Ft. Riley, Kansas courtesy of the Army during the Korean Conflict where Barbara continued to teach twirling After that, they continued moving west to Glendale, AZ and onward to Santa Monica, CA working for various mortuaries while Richard attended mortuary college before discovering the town of Mojave in 1959 while on a Sunday drive. There was a set of local mortuaries for sale there and with the help of family, they were able to purchase their own mortuary. Barbara and Richard moved to Mojave in January 1960 and became well-known throughout Kern County and the Antelope Valley for their kind and compassionate service to the communities that they served for more than 30 years as the owners and then in semi-retirement for another 10 years. It was in Mojave that Barbara and Richard were finally able to have their three beloved children and build the life and family that they wanted. In addition to their busy lives in the mortuary business, Barbara taught twirling until about 1970 and continued to twirl with much delight until the age of 90 when a stroke made her unable to continue.

Barbara was a member of Tehachapi Order of the Eastern Star for 47 years, served as secretary of the Mojave historical society during its formation, served on the advisory board of Mojave Order of Rainbow for Girls for many years, and provided support for several other local groups and causes throughout her 62 years in Mojave. While raising her three children, Barbara provided countless meals, love, support, and transportation to many other local children and gave a home to many stray animals that she encountered.

Barbara always had a kind word for everyone she met, she lived her life with a smile and a positive outlook, and never ceased to be grateful for what she had. In addition, Barbara was a huge fan of Elvis Presley and enjoyed following ice skating and Dancing with the Stars. She will be remembered by her family for her unfailing love and emotional support.

Family was everything for Barbara. She is survived by her three children: Debby (Robert) Goosey of Scotts Valley, CA, John (Dawn) Stickel of Palmdale, CA, and David Stickel of Mojave, CA; 3 grandchildren: Andrea Villavicencio, Lindsay Rickman, and Stephanie Stickel; and 5 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her sister Judy Cooper of Hicksville, Ohio. Barbara was preceded in death by her beloved husband of 64 years, Richard, in 2014, and a brother, Harold A. “Skip” Winesburg, in 2016.

Donations can be made in her memory to the Dementia Society of America @
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