Nita Barr of Diamond Springs, Kansas, passed from this life and into her eternal, at home surrounded by her family early November 25, 2020.
Nita was born Juanita Pearl Hamilton on April 15, 1933 in Aline, OK to Ben and Ethyl Hamilton. Ben later married Eileen Grey of Bucklin, KS, whom Nita fondly called “Mom”. The family settled in Chase County near Hymer, KS, where they managed the Robbins Ranch. Nita attended Hymer Grade School and Elmdale High School, then worked for Hallmark Cards in Emporia, KS. She married Gene Barr in 1953 and together they continued ranch life, raising their family at the Barr home place on Diamond Creek, KS.
Nita was a lifelong artist. She often learned new techniques from TV and in-person instruction. She loved looking for fossils and Indian rocks, seeking how they fit in the hand and might have been used - “It’s been worked!” was a frequent pronouncement.
She was an excellent cook and baker. To help fund her kids’ college expenses, Nita fulfilled her dream of being a short order cook at Sweeny’s Truck Stop in Strong City, KS and later the Cottonwood Falls Nursing Home. She then moved on to catering with the Holiday Inn, Emporia, KS and finally as a cook for Emporia’s Newman’s Hospital, where she was known for her transformations of left overs and scraps into delicious soups, and day-old bread and muffins into coveted bread pudding. She also served her community with her gift of cooking: church dinners, funeral meals, snacks for vacation Bible schools (even into her 80s and in costume!) and feeding anyone who would stop by her home. Dogs, cats and other critters looked to her for table scraps or gravy on their kibble.
She supported her kids in school sports and activities, dance, art, and the Diamond 4H Club. She was a member of the Hymer Home Demonstration Unit, the Chase County Artist’s Guild, and the Women’s Council of Wilsey Christian Church (Ladies Missionary Society).
Juanita is survived by her husband of 67 years, Gene Drummond Barr of the home, and her children: Kathy Schmitz (Ted), Concordia, KS; Mary Felker, Aurora, CO; and Ben Barr (Rachael), Diamond Springs, KS. She is also survived by her sister, Colleen Hynson, Emporia, KS and sister-in-law, Darlene Barr, rural Cottonwood Falls, KS.
Nita had four grandsons that she adored: Dustin Schmitz, New York City, NY; Andy Felker, Aurora, CO; Cody Schmitz, Lawrence, KS; and Samuel Barr, Diamond Springs, KS. She also loved many nieces, nephews and others that she adopted as extended family. Her neighbors, friends and church family were a source of joy to her.
She trusted in Jesus Christ her Lord and had a compassionate heart. Nita was a member of the Wilsey Christian Church where she served God with her gifts of singing, making stained glass windows for the fellowship hall, preparing meals, and sharing her good humor and gentle wisdom.
Nita was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and a faithful friend. She will be greatly missed until we meet together again in our heavenly home.
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