Barbara W. Harwood

May 28, 1925 – March 26, 2012


Barbara Mae Wagenhals was born May 28th, 1925 in Mansfield, Ohio to Katherine Barbara and Joseph George Wagenhals. She was the sixth of seven siblings: Katherine, Joseph ‘Joe’, Frederick ‘Fritz’, John ‘Jack’, Robert ‘Bob’, Barbara ‘Diddy’, and Elizabeth ‘Joanne’.

‘Diddy’ was an accomplished seamstress as a young girl, attending 4H club, receiving awards when she was 11, 12, and 13 years of age.

She graduated from Crestline High in 1943, where she was the senior class president and home-coming queen.

After graduation, she went to southern California, taking her 8 year old sister Joanne with her for the summer. They stayed with Katherine, her 28 year old sister.

She met, and later married, in 1947, Ivan Leroy Harlan. He said that he had married her for her great beauty.

In 1948, Barbara graduated from City College of Los Angeles, attaining an Associate in Arts degree.

After college she worked as a dental technician, to put Ivan through college.

They had three children: Michael, Candace, and Susan.

They moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1959, and then to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1962. Ivan had an adulteress affair, but came back to Barbara and their kids, moving to North Brook, Illinois in 1965 to start over. Once there, he abandoned his family, and they divorced in 1966.

Barbara sold her possessions and moved the family back to California driving her beloved 1957 convertible Ford Fairlane, ‘Black Beauty’. She attended class in the evenings to advance her career as a stenographer with Lockheed Aircraft. There she met and later married, July 30th, 1973, Ernest ‘Ernie’ Harwood. They retired from Lockheed in 1981 to their 7 acre property in Sunny Valley, Oregon.


They were very involved with the Sunny Valley Grange. Barbara ‘Bunky’ Harwood was instrumental in attaining a fire department for Sunny Valley. She helped construct and paint the fire house.

She and Ernie maintained the country road, Sunny Glen Way, at their own expense, for the 26 years they resided there. Their property was like a park. Barbara planted a grove of Christmas trees, only to become so attached she couldn’t sell them. It was a beautiful grove next to the creek running through their property.

Barbara was an expert baker, making wonderful pies. She canned jams, made quilts, made her granddaughter, Danielle, award winning dresses, made stuffed animals, painted, gardened, and even laid cement pathways to the 5 out buildings they built on their property.

In 2007, they sold their home after being on the market for 4 days. They moved into Grants Pass, Oregon. Ernie passed away peacefully in his sleep 3 months later.

Barbara remained in Grants Pass, very often visited, until her health declined. She moved to Bothell, WA in February 2010, where she resided until her death. She passed away peacefully on March 26th, 2012. In the hour that preceded her death, each of her loved ones talked to her. Her eyes teared, as she heard everyone. This life story of Barbara was read to her by her daughter, Suze, holding her hand and surrounded by her caregivers that dearly loved her. When her life story was over, so was her life. It was truly beautiful.

Barbara was a wonderful, strong, funny mom. She had a great sense of humor, often rolling her eyes, laughing. Her life was rich and she was truly loved.

Barbara Harwood

The family was very fortunate to have found Cynthia Salazar-Rubio’s Serene Cottage adult family home in Bothell. Her caregiver Merlita, ‘Merly’, was so wonderful to our mom. We will forever welcome Merly as a member of our family. Barbara really loved Merly, and together they shared many intimate stories.

Barbara is survived by her loving son, Mike Harlan, daughter-in-law Patti Harlan, grandson Bryan, and her great grandchild, Braeden; her daughter Candy Johnson, whose premature twins Joseph and Evan preceded Barbara in death; and her daughter and guardian Sue Maxon, son-in-law Rick Maxon, granddaughter Danielle and grandson Kevin. Barbara is also survived by her sibling, Joanne Teschler, in Mansfield, Ohio.

We will miss our mom and Nana. We loved her.

8 Responses to “Barbara W. Harwood”

  • Suze says:

    I am so lucky to have had you in my life. I will always hold you dear. Miss you so much.

  • Robin says:

    What great memories I have of you Barb. You were a great artist and mom. The proof is in your fantastic kids! I will also always hold you close to my heart.

  • Merly says:

    My beloved Barbara…Words could not express how grateful I am to be a part of your life.T’was really an unforgettable one.I treasured every minute of our togetherness till you parted away from us.I have loved you so dearly…you are my inspiration to persevere more because you helped me win your battle,we are a team.Your calling has come,we have to let you go though it hurts us much but GOD did planned!!Thank you for the LOVE you vested on me,so overwhelmed I’ve bee there beside you.Missed you telling me “You know that I love you no matter what.” I Love you too Barbara!!!Bye now…Walk in Peace with God…

  • Heidi says:

    Dear Sweet Barb. Today was your “Celebration of Life”. Too bad we don’t do this while we are still here to enjoy being loved. You had a nice turnout of friends/family – all with nothing but good to say about you. I miss you and Ernie, the laughter, love, and fun we shared together. I was sad when you were whisked away from Grants Pass so suddenly, leaving us wondering where you went. Thank you for loving me as a daughter, you were both so precious – I will love you always. You and Ernie save me a spot, I will see you again! Love – Heidi

  • Suze says:

    I miss you every day. I had a corned beef sandwich in your honor yesterday, as i know you loved corned beef; you would have been 87. I wish I could talk with you and visit you still. I know you are with me in spirit mom. Love you.

  • Suze says:

    Miss you and think of you daily Mom. The anniversary of your death was very difficult for me. I really miss you and love you. You were a great mom and role model.

  • Sue Maxon says:

    Missing you Mom. I think of you nearly every day. Love you.

  • Sue Maxon says:

    Miss you every day Mom. Love you.

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