Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Barbara Woods was high-spirited, outgoing

 

Barbara Woods

There will be a potluck celebration of Barbara Woods’ life at 5 p.m. today (Thursday, Feb. 16) at the Elks Lodge. “It will be very casual. She wouldn’t have it any other way,” granddaughter Jamie Sykes said. Woods, 66, died the morning of Feb. 11 in Juneau’s Bartlett Regional Hospital of a brain bleed, Sykes said. Woods’ sister, Marge Conzatti, said that her health had been failing, especially the last six months.

Woods arrived in Haines in 1989 and embraced the rustic rural lifestyle at 26 Mile where she kept a large vegetable garden, raised chickens for eggs and meat, and canned and preserved much of her own food. Jamie Sykes said the family’s subsistence-fishing site at 14 Mile was a special place. “Grandma loved fish camp. It was her favorite time of the year, She taught all her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids fishing and crafty things like making baskets or finding driftwood that looked like animals,” she said.

Woods was a member of the Haines Pioneer Igloo where she baked rolls or made the main dish for many of the meetings. “She cooked meals for nearly every one since 2000,” Jim Shook said.

She was an active Emblem and Elks club member as well. Emblem club past president Michelle Stigen said the high-spirited, outgoing Woods would be missed at club social and community service events. “Barbara made our Easter Bunny costumes and Santa suits and donated her homemade, canned, smoked, weaved or baked items and specialties to our fundraisers over the years.”

Barbara Ellen Estep was born May 2, 1945 to Wes and Beulah (Mitchell) Estep of Yakima, Wash., and raised in the Yakima Valley area. “We had a rather migrant life. We worked in the fields quite a lot growing up,” Marge Conzatti said.

After graduating from Tahoma Valley High School, she married a neighbor in the trailer park where the family lived, Cecil Chapman. They moved to Texas, where her husband was a carpenter and she reared three daughters and worked for a Houston-area phone company.

They moved to back to Washington in the late 1960s. Woods followed the family north to the Yukon and Alaska after her children were grown and her marriage ended in divorce. She settled in Haines to be closer to sister Marge and Dave Conzatti. In 1992 she married Richard Woods at Dalton City in what her granddaughter Jamie Sykes called a fun, “shot-gun wedding” themed ceremony at the Klondike, featuring can-can girls, guests packing firearms, and period costumes. Woods’ adult daughters followed her here, and as the family expanded, her home became its hub.

Woods was also an accomplished painter, specializing in cowboy portraits and she loved to sing, especially around a bonfire. “Her greatest pleasure, when she was well, was taking her daughters, grandkids, and great-grandkids fishing or swimming and that always called for gathering around a campfire,” Marge Conzatti said.

Woods leaves husband Richard Woods of Haines; daughters Kim Rosado of Arizona, Chris Lee of Missouri, and Sheri Wallers of Haines; siblings Marge Conzatti of Yakima, Sharon Hallman of Wasilla, George Estep of New Mexico, Jack Estep of Yakima, and Larry Estep of Arlington, Wash.; seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A great-granddaughter preceded her in death as did both her parents and first husband Cecil Chapman.

“We all think it is nice that Grandma is helping four other families out with her organ and tissue donations,” Jamie Sykes said.