Passed Away On: 2017-06-14 00:00:00
Barbara Lucy Nicoara was born on August 3, 1935 in Detroit, Michigan. After a long and meaningful life, she died on June 14, 2017 at her home in Hollister, California.
Barbara grew up in Michigan and married John Nicoara in 1956 during her senior year at the University of Michigan. They welcomed her first child, Joe, in 1957. John's career led their young family to San Diego, Denver and finally to his job at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, California in 1962. By 1964 the family had grown with the arrival of James, Peter and Anne Marie.
In 1972, Barbara graduated from the Santa Clara University with a law degree by attending night classes while raising her four children as a single parent. She practiced family and criminal law and gained valuable political experience while running political campaigns in San Jose,. She inevitably came to the attention of California Assemblywoman Leona Egland and was hired to run Leona's San Jose office. Eventually Barbara was employed by the County of Santa Clara in Labor Relations, negotiating labor contracts. She retired in 1985 and began a private consulting business.
In 1975, Barbara found a kindred spirit in George Lewis who shared her love of civic engagement. Their first date was to a very romantic event for SMACNA (Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors National Association)! George and Barbara were married in 1977, bringing George's two sons David and Tim into the fold.
While George was employed at MH Engineering in Hollister, he and Barbara purchased 40 pristine acres in Paicines, and for a time lived in a trailer there with their 2 dogs and a cat while they built their home. Living in the country did nothing to deter Barbara's community involvement. Barbara joined the Methodist Church and remained an active, contributing member for the rest of her life. She also was an active member of Chadeish Yameinu, a Jewish Renewal Community in Santa Cruz. In 1986 she was appointed to the San Benito County Arts Commission and became a founding member of the San Benito Oriana Chorale, an organization which still thrives. Over the course of her long and industrious community involvement, Barbara served on the Hazel Hawkins Hospital Foundation Board and spearheaded their Northside Challenge Campaign, raising $762, 000. She served on the Seniors Council for Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties and the Diabetes Collaborative. In conjunction with her work on the Collaborative, Barbara began "Fit for Kids" a yoga program designed to promote exercise and good nutrition at Calaveras and R.O. Hardin elementary schools, which continues to serve hundreds of kids each year. She helped form a singing group, The Old Time Religion Singers, who for years performed monthly at county convalescent and retirement homes. She campaigned for walkability improvements in new commercial developments in Hollister. In 2006 Barbara was rightfully awarded "Woman of the Year" by the San Benito County Chamber of Commerce.
Barbara had a fierce and omnivorous intellect. She was courageous and could disagree with someone without being disagreeable. She loved books, music and trailer camping with George and their dogs. She was a loyal and steadfast friend to those lucky enough to know her. Barbara was a beacon of hope and resolve and we will miss her more than we can say.
Barbara is survived by her husband George, their 6 children, 12 grandchildren and a sister Elizabeth Hackett of Detroit Michigan.
Per Barbara's request no services are planned.